Big Brother: Getting Bigger

george_orwell_1984.jpg
“…to do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife…”

1984, George Orwell

1984 is simply a bottomless source of cautionary wisdom and apt quotes to describe our current obsession with total security here in Fortress America. In today’s Sun-Times comes an update on Daley’s ongoing efforts to increase the number of surveillance cameras in the City of Chicago. In the interest of fairness, I’ve bolded the items that cuaght my attention- whether they support my view of the issue or not.

“Assets seized from drug dealers have been used to buy 70 more surveillance cameras that will be installed over the next two weeks in high-crime areas and near high schools, Mayor Daley announced today.

Fifty of the new cameras are what Daley called “the next generation” of surveillance technology.
They weigh 35 pounds and cost just $20,000 apiece, compared to 100 pounds at $34,000 each for the old model. Both versions have zoom lenses, night vision capability and the ability to rotate 360 degrees. Twenty-five have gunshot detection technology capable of “triangulating within 20 feet” the location of a shooting.

The new cameras bring to 170 the number of “Operation Disruption” cameras installed in high-crime areas with microwave antennas that beam pictures back to the 911 emergency center and district stations. Roughly half are monitored around the clock.

Technology that allows police officers to monitor cameras on their beat from their squad cars is still being developed. The city is also still testing sophisticated software capable of spotting “suspicious and unusual behavior.”

“Eventually, as the technology gets better, you’ll have more and more cameras in communities — for the safety of people and prevention,” said Daley, who has embraced a radical plan to require every licensed Chicago business open more than 12 hours a day to install indoor and outdoor cameras.

Police Supt. Phil Cline said it’s not enough to “simply install a camera” in a high-crime area.
Video surveillance needs to be conducted in tandem with other crime reduction strategies — like flooding an area with personnel from a “targeted response unit” or conducting special undercover operations to disrupt open-air drug markets, he said.

The mayor was tight-lipped about where the latest round of cameras would be installed.
He would only say that some would be located near high schools, based on an assessment now underway to determine the CTA routes that students use to get to school and the paths they walk to and from bus and L stops.

One of the new cameras was installed at 56th and Loomis in Englewood to serve as a backdrop for a mayoral news conference that was ultimately moved indoors because of heavy rain. That’s a neighborhood — with seven cameras already — still grieving from the shooting deaths of two young girls gunned down in the safety of their homes.

“The greatest compliment I received was from an 82-year-old…man who lived on a corner where a camera was [installed]. He came to me crying and said, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever been able to sit on my porch,’ ” said Englewood Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th), after joining Daley at a news conference at Libby Elementary School, 5300 S. Loomis.

“The camera has that kind of effect. It gives people a sense of security.”

But Coleman said she was concerned to learn that not all of the cameras are being monitored around the clock.

“I don’t want to see any dog-and-pony-show cameras in my ward. If something happens, God forbid, they [can] say, ‘Well, this one was not monitored.’…I’m not interested in props for the community. We have to have the real stuff,” Coleman said.

Two years ago, Chicago became a world leader in Big Brother technology.

With help from a $5.1 million federal homeland security grant, the city announced plans to install 250 cameras at locations at high risk of a terrorist attack, link them and 2,000 existing cameras to the 911 center and equip them all with sophisticated software capable of spotting “suspicious and unusual behavior.”

City Hall is now finalizing a contract for “Operation Virtual Shield,” Daley’s plan to link 1,000 miles of “sometimes stand-alone fiber” into a unified “homeland security grid”–complete with sensors capable of monitoring the city’s water supply and detecting chemical and biological weapons.

The city also made an unprecedented offer to the private sector. Businesses that agreed to pay an undisclosed fee for the privilege would have cameras outside their entrances and even in their stairwells monitored by the 911 center.

Last summer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Boeing Corp. had become the first Chicago business to join the camera network.

On Tuesday, City Hall disclosed that 50 corporations — ranging from utilities to companies in the LaSalle Street financial district — have also signed on. Officials were tight-lipped about the fee and the precise number of cameras.”

19 Comments so far

  1. Deon (unregistered) on April 26th, 2006 @ 9:07 am

    Frightening! With the Unions and the Cameras, this once great city has become paralyzed with “terror”. I’m moving away at the end of May and saddly hope to never return. What bugs me the most is that the people just sit back and allow it to happen: they either don’t know or just don’t care… “Those that give up a little bit of freedom for a little bit of security, deserve neither.”


  2. zed (unregistered) on April 26th, 2006 @ 11:16 am

    Last year, I was woken at 3 am by a huge crash and lots of yelling. It seems that a big van was chasing a jeep around in my back yard and had crashed through the fence. The vehicle doing the assault got away, the other got stuck. Dunkin donuts was just across the alley, BUT their camera was not on. Way to go. For someone who’s never had a crime happen to them, they tend to be pretty cavilier. What is keeping your freedom if cameras are there or not? You can still do whatever you want to do, right? What’s the difference if there is a person there to watch you when it is in a public area?


  3. nikkos (unregistered) on April 26th, 2006 @ 11:41 am

    Zed, here’s what bugs me: who decides what constitues “suspicious and unusual behavior?” That is what the Orwell quote is getting at.

    Of course, no one is upset that these technologies can actually be used to interdict actual criminals (although your example indicates this is less effective than one might think). What is upsetting is that criminality itself can be redefined, and essentially defined down to “unusual” or “suspicious.”

    Here’s a scenario:
    You have a date. You meet at a restaurant, go to a bar afterwards for a couple of drinks, all is going splendidly. As you drive your date home, you park in front of his/her place and, like people dating are wont to do, make out a litle bit before parting company.

    This “suspiciuos and unusual” behavior is captured on the now-ubiqitous security cameras that infest your neighborhood.

    Not being certain as to whether your kissy face is consensual or not, the po-lice “flood the area with personnel from a “targeted response unit.” While you committed no crime, now you have to explain to the police exactly who you are, what you’re doing there and why you are kissing your date. This is the crime Orwell referred to as “ownlife.”

    I want my own life- don’t you?


  4. Gabe (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 12:53 pm

    Nikkos, While I like your scenario and I could see how something like that could happen, I find it rather far-fetched. That units would act on a kiss seems like you’re taking it to the extremes in order to prove a point. Sounds to me like scare tactics.

    Also, on your comment about “who decides”, what you’re basically saying is no one should be allowed to decide what is suspicious and unusual. That it should be left up to the individual to decide. Which is wrong. Let me ask you a question, have you ever lied before? Have you ever cheated? Taxes? Test? Girlfriend or wife? See the problem with what you’re saying is that no individual should decide what is suspicious and unusual but yet everyone has done something wrong. Someone somewhere said that murder was wrong and everyone agreed. Yet it still happens everyday (despite efforts to prevent it I might add). Someone somewhere has to decide that an act is suspicious and unusual or you will see more crime because if left to the individual to decide, they will choose whatever benefits them most; not what’s right.

    Add to that, another question. Did you vote? If so, you have voted for our officials to decide what is suspicious and unusual. When you voted for an individual to take office, you gave them the power to protect this country which gives them the power to decide what is suspicious and unusual. If you don’t like what they’ve determined to be S&U, then vote for someone else. Give someone else the power that represents your interests and what you deem S&U.

    My point: if you don’t like the cameras and you think we’re turning into a orwellian society, vote for someone else. That is true “ownlife”.


  5. nikkos (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 1:09 pm

    Gabe-

    You’re right. Perhaps it IS far-fecthed that some of my readers would be in a position to have sexual relations with a women….

    Here’s another scenario:

    You are enjoying a beautiful afternoon in Chicago by taking a visit to Millenium Park. You are by yourself, minding your own business. You are taking a tour through Millenium Park, perhaps stopping frequently to take photos of architectural details which interest you.

    Maybe you paused too long at a certain point of structural support. Maybe the simple fact that you are alone at a tourist destination on such a lovely day is enough to raise suspicion, or that you seem to be taking an inordinate amount of photographs, and not those of the “this-is-me-in-front-of-the-Bean” variety. You’re taking photographs and walking in a suspicious manner.
    Suddenly, security/law enforcement/Gabe and his buddies descend on you, and proceed to question, threaten and harass you.

    After 10 or 15 minutes of heated interrogatory, you are released.

    Your accusers did not realize your strange, loner-like, terra-ist-like, “suspicious and unusual” behavior could be attributed to the simple fact that you were listening to a podcast of a tour of Millenium Park.

    I will also point out that I did not suggest that NO ONE can decide what is suspicious and unusual.

    Rather, I suggested we all question whom we can trust to make such a determination.


  6. Gabe (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 1:22 pm

    HAHA! I like that. That was even better than the first. If I could be the harasser, do I get to use a cattle prod? Electricity works wonders. BTW, as part of my resume, I am trained in riot tactics. :)

    That was the clarification I was looking for. Thank you.

    Side note: I used to work in a restaurant and I had an experienced waiter tell me one time, “the job of a waiter is to insult people and do it in such a way that they tip you for it.” I like how you’ve done that with your readers.


  7. Chris (unregistered) on May 1st, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

    As someone who works for the leading company in the world at detecting ‘supicious and unusual behavior” I’d like to set the record straight a little. These systems are able to look for specific individual behaviors or combinations behaviors (such as loitering, or people/vehicles crossing ‘virtual’ perimeters, large groups forming) and then bring those to the attention of a HUMAN operator for verification/action.

    The purpose of this is NOT to prescribe what people can do in public (the list of behaviors is still far from comprehensive and many behaviors are too subtle to detect) but to allow overburdened monitoring staff to be able to monitor far greater numbers of the cameras that are being installed.

    Anyone who’s tried to view a surveillance video for more than a few seconds realizes that for the bulk of the time there is nothing of interest going on, making it impossible to stay focused on the activity (20 minutes is the upper limit that humans can manage – no matter how well motivated). Now multiply that challenge by the 100s of cameras…..

    Using tools such as those produced by the company I work for, monitors can describe “activities of interest” for each camera they are mmonitoring and then be alerted when those activities are in progress. At that point it’s up to the monitor to exercise their discretion (or follow their standard SOPs) to decide what to do next.

    This helps address Civil Liberties issues because until something “of interest” is happening no-one is actually monitoring the video feed, so nobody is being spied on (a real issue in the past with human monitors). More to the point, computer chips and software doesn’t judge you, if you aren’t replicating a prescribed behavior you are ignored. And these systems don’t usually see in color, so they can’t even be programmed to reflect the possible bias of an operator. Finally, even when something “of interest” is detected, the decision about what to do next is firmly where it should be – in the hands of the trained respnders/monitors.

    Used badly, surveillance is intrusive and delivers little real (but much political) benefit, like the the ones in Chicago that nobody is monitoring. Used well, they can improve public safety for all without any need to compromise people’s liberty.

    But then I would say that, wouldn’t it? That said, if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t work here.


  8. nikkos (unregistered) on May 1st, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

    Chris-

    First, thanks for your comments.

    Second, do you really think anything you just wrote is going to make any opponents of surveillance cameras more comfortable?

    For example, let’s just take your first paragraph:

    “As someone who works for the leading company in the world at detecting ‘supicious and unusual behavior” I’d like to set the record straight a little.

    These systems are able to look for specific individual behaviors or combinations behaviors (such as loitering, or people/vehicles crossing ‘virtual’ perimeters, large groups forming) and then bring those to the attention of a HUMAN operator for verification/action.”

    So, “loitering,” defined as “to remain in an area with no obvious reason,” is now considered one of the “suspect behaviors?” Think about that for a second folks: standing around, with no obvious reason, is enough to attract the interest of the police.

    “Virtual perimeters,” or what a child would refer to as an “imaginary line,” are also off-limits? Well Chris, how will we know to avoid the imaginary lines which delineate these virtual spaces if the lines are, well, imaginary? I’m assuming this is a coy way of saying that in regards to “sensitive facilities” (whatever they may be defined as on a given day) have an invisible line which, when crossed by a person, prompts a police response.

    Last but not least, forgive me for not being pleased when you tell me my Constitutional right to free assembly has now been usurped by cameras which are programmed to look for “large groups forming.”

    While I appreciate your comments, as I said above, I do not agree with you. I can only imagine what other behaviors have been deemed “suspicious,” or how often someone that was deemed “suspicious” turned out to be waiting for the bus instead of loitering, or what have you.


  9. Gabe (unregistered) on May 1st, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

    See Nikkos, you conveniently left out the rest of what he said. He stated that it doesn’t produce an immediate response. It alerts someone who is monitoring the monitors that there MIGHT be something suspicious going on. A person is then given the option to decide if something truly suspicious is happening. That person can then make the judgement call to have the police called in. While you wanna jump to the conclusion because you wanna be all gung-ho about civil liberties, The system does not automically call in the police.


  10. nikkos (unregistered) on May 1st, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

    Well Gabe, I’m sorry if I’ve offended your delicate rhetorical sesnibilities. Truth, justice, civil rights, freedom- those words have meaning to me. They are a punchline to you. You would entrust your freedom to a metal box, a flashing blue light and a minimum wage monitor jockey. So don’t tell me about judgement.

    See Gabe, you may see me as “gung ho” on civil liberties. But the truth- and allow me to point out that I deride your truth-handling abilities- but the truth is you need me Gabe, and men and women like me, to man the rhetorical barricades for freedom, for civil rights, and so forth and so on.

    Annnnnd scene.


  11. Gabe (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 6:11 pm

    Gee, is this the part where I thank you for insulting me and say, “It’s ok. He’s just an ignorant liberal.”? As one of my previous teachers told me, “ignorance is not an excuse.”

    ….

    While you made a big stink about my comment, you failed to address my original rebuttal which was that the system isn’t making a judgement. An individual makes the judgment which is where it should be but then you don’t care about that. You just want to hide behind your so called sense of “Truth, Justice, Civil rights, freedom…” and say that you are some how being violated. By the way, you forgot to include “American way” in that statement. Don’t forget to put a flag behind you while you say it and have the national anthem playing.

    ….

    You almost sounded like Jack Nicholson there for a minute. “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH….” I half expected you to break out into this self-righteous crescendo of “You want me on that wall! You need me on that wall!”

    See, your comment about “Annnnd scene.” was more appropriate than you thought. By the way, I loved your performance above. It brought a tear to my eye. **sniff**


  12. nikkos (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2006 @ 8:56 am

    Ahh Gabe…where to begin?

    The Nicholson reference was intentional- apparently my attempt at humor missed the mark.

    I did not respond to your point about whom makes the evaluation primarily because I have responded to it before. But, to reiterate, I am not concenred about machine intelligence making these decisions- that is not my fear. I am concerned about whom makes the call to say that something is “suspicious and unusual” and to investigate further. I do think that once the computer has indicated that there may be an incident, that the human operator would be under a lot of pressure to follow-up. After all, what if somehting DID happen, and the computer system alerted an operator to it, yet the operator did not respond?

    Why does this concern me? Well, a couple of recent news items illustrate the point nicely:

    “Homeland Security official arrested in child sex sting”

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/04/04/homeland.arrest/index.html

    Another official- who was actually at one time in charge of the child sex crimes unit- was charged with exposing himself to, you guessed it- a young girl.

    Now, add to simple human stupidity and perversion a variety of other factors- political calculations, racial animosity, etc., and I think you can see why putting this kind of power into people’s hands could have disastrous results.

    In addition, since we had the rare opportunity to actually discuss the issue with someone in the industry, I think there is some utility in reminding him that there are those of us out here that are “watching the watchers.”


  13. Gabe (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

    Fair enough and I can appreciate that point. My only question with that would be, is anyone good enough to be the monitor jocky? As I pointed out earlier, everyone has done something wrong. So on what criteria do we base that someone can be a minimum wage earner and watch you take pictures of monuments? Is this another job for the immigrants? (like that tie-in?) Or do you feel compelled to make $6.50/hr for reading a magazine and occasionally watching a live feed of your backyard?


  14. nikkos (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

    Gabe-

    The question of how we determine whom is competent and capable of making such evaluations has been my point all along. Thanks for finally catching up.

    “You just want to hide behind your so called sense of “Truth, Justice, Civil rights, freedom…” and say that you are some how being violated. By the way, you forgot to include “American way” in that statement.”

    Allow me to quote Richie Havens, who said, “I thought truth and justice WAS the American way!”


  15. Gabe (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

    Nikkos,
    If you were paying attention, you would have seen that I asked that on Apr 27th in my post. Though it may have been veiled, the question was still there. So it seems that we are back to what I had originally pointed out….finally. The interesting thing is that I’ve never heard a solution from you. While you are quick to point out the faults with the program, you don’t offer much in the way of resolving the issue. Is that because you’re more in favor of scrapping the whole idea because it offends your sense of civil liberties or simply because like most liberals, you don’t have any better ideas?

    ….

    That’s an amusing quote. I like that. I actually borrowed my part from the old superfriends cartoon; “Fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American way.” I’m glad to see all those years of watching cartoons has paid off for me.


  16. nikkos (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 8:50 am

    Insults aside, no, I do not have a pat and easy solution. But I would question your seemingly blind faith in these devices as well. You seem to assume that the SENTRI cameras are a “solution” in and of themselves, despite the fact that:

    – Recent articles clearly state that no one is monitoring half of the City’s cameras- which means that even if you were an advocate of this program, you have to admit it’s fairly half-assed. What good- other than a marginal deterrent value- do unmonitored cameras serve?

    – Even if all the cameras were monitored, this is Chicago after all- who do you think would get those cushy jobs? Friends of Daley- or of his minions- would be my guess. This then poses the further problem of the abuse of this kind of technology for political reasons. In fact, many police surveillance cameras were used to keep tabs on protesters at the recent immigration marches. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind these cameras in the hands of Republicans, Gabe, but do you really trust Democrats with them? ;)

    – The cameras, with blinking blue lights are obvious, so it makes sense to think that premeditated crimes would simply be committed down the street were there are no cameras- again, calling into question the effectiveness of this “solution.”

    – It seems to me that by their very nature these cameras “define down” criminal activity. Loitering? Do we really want to spend our tax dollars to make sure people aren’t sanding on the corner, doing nothing? (Which is different from standing on a corner, slangin’ rock, btw).

    If they were actually engaged in criminal activity, wouldn’t they simply move out of camera range?

    At the end of the day, for most people, whether or not they approve of these types of systems depends on the balance between their law enforcement effectiveness and civil liberties.

    My point is that these cameras seem to be more effective at garnering PR for the City, the Mayor and the CPD than they are at preventing crime, while at the same time posing a serious threat to civil liberties.


  17. Gabe (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

    I wouldn’t say that it’s blind but by your challenge to the system, it has caused me to think about it (which is a dangerous thing ;) ) and I do think that you have some valid points above. In reviewing some of your questions or comments, it actually made me think about another question that I would have; where’s the data? Where is the data to support the need for the cameras? I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist but what I’m asking is “is there specific data that points to a decrease in crime as a result of the cameras?” While I have no problem with the cameras themselves, I don’t advocate pork bellys or political corruption. If there is nothing to support the need for the camera’s, then it seems to me that the money could be spent on better things like….oh I don’t know….EDUCATION!

    I would like to see specific data that points to the decline in crime in a particular area as a result of the camera’s being there. Not because they increased the police force or used cattle prods; a direct result of the cameras. So you have a very good point about the “PR” and I approve that message. ;)

    …..

    Not to make you think I’m totally on your side, here’s a few insults to help sleep at night.

    Your mom dresses you funny!

    Damn Liberal!!

    I think all republicans should have cameras to watch the democrats or at least an illegal immigrant to watch it for them.


  18. Chris (unregistered) on May 5th, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

    Boy, you guys really get into it don’t you?

    In my earlier comments the quotation marks around ‘suspicious and unusual behavior’ were intentional.

    I believe the key to your concerns here also happens to be the key to the definition of good ‘surveillance’ policy. It’s NOT about ‘catching/watching’ innocent citizens going about their daily business, it’s about detecting people performing very specific actions in very specific circumstances. Typically those actions have been determined by prior analysis to be accurate precursors of undesirable events (of course those undesirable events are determined by a person still, so they might be subjective).

    Context is king here. I know of no-one, anywhere drawing arbitrary lines on the ground and using the crossing of those lines as the start of an interdiction or tracking process. Drawing a line in the middle of the sidewalk would be unproductive, but drawing the same line beside an oil pipeline may be helpful.

    Putting your suitcase down in the street while you look at a map is an innocent and common behavior, putting your suitcase down in a train station and then walking off and leaving it behind may also be innocent, but may also not be. Hence the alert being presented to a human for the next call (and they aren’t usually low-wage types in this scenario, and anyway my father was low-wage his whole life, but he still had plenty of common sense!).

    This sort of technology is not, and probably never would be, implemented everywhere. It brings benefit most when used sparingly to detect things you really care about (which implies that the cameras in that scenario are pointed at somewhere/something important).

    BTW, ‘unusual’ need not mean criminal – how would you like the system to tell your local Wal-Mart/Best Buy/whoever that the queue of people is too long and they need to open another checkout without you having to complain or someone else having to watch for it? How about if the system tells subway/metro operators that the platforms are becoming dangerously overcrowded, so stop letting trains onto the platform until the people currently there have moved up – they are both “large groups forming” and I’m sure you’d be happier if people noticed them and did something about them rather than ignore it.

    How about the guy dealing drugs on the corner of your street, should be define a rule to stake it out and capture the evidence or just leave it? Wherever they have put cameras in high-crime parts of the DC/Maryland area the rate has dropped dramatically.

    And how about the guy hanging around in the stairway at the girls dorm at a (hypothetical) college. Do you want someone to challenge him for being there even if it upsets him because he’s waiting for his girlfriend, or just ignore it because the downside of upsetting him outweighs the benefit of scaring off a stalker? (Lots of irony in this one).

    You seemed worried about the intent here. The system itself has no intent. The people who set the rules for detection may have good or bad intent, but they are (probably) going to be the same people out on the streets responding to whatever it tells them. All this is going to do is bring VERY specific events in VERY specific places to their attention, so they can be doing what they should be doing (patrolling the streets to act as a deterrent, there is a TON of data that proves that one) while a machine “minds the shop” and sends them a picture when it thinks they need to know something.

    Apologies for the caps, it’s late and I’m in the UK; land of 60M people and 5M cameras. They have NO problems with that here, it caught all 4 of the failed copycat bombers (the second set of guys) in less than 3 weeks.

    I suppose the bottom line is, do you think that was a good or a bad thing? No-one else got arrested, just the guys who tried to murder a few hundred innocent people, why? Because the video cameras showed them exactly who they were looking for.

    Good night all.


  19. nikkos (unregistered) on May 9th, 2006 @ 9:17 am

    Chris-

    Thanks again for your comments.

    There are a couple of points you made which I think merit further discussion:

    “You seemed worried about the intent here. The system itself has no intent. The people who set the rules for detection may have good or bad intent, but they are (probably) going to be the same people out on the streets responding to whatever it tells them.”

    Again, I understand the system itself has no intent, and that the parameters for what is considered suspicious and unusual, and thus warranting further interdiction, is determined by human beings. I doubt the people that set the parameters are the same ones that actually go out on the street to perform interdictions.
    “I’m in the UK; land of 60M people and 5M cameras. They have NO problems with that here, it caught all 4 of the failed copycat bombers (the second set of guys) in less than 3 weeks.
    I suppose the bottom line is, do you think that was a good or a bad thing? No-one else got arrested, just the guys who tried to murder a few hundred innocent people, why? Because the video cameras showed them exactly who they were looking for.”
    I’m glad you mentioned the UK. What you failed to mention, however, is that the security cameras- 5 million of them, as you say- failed to stop the FIRST wave of London bombings. I think it’s great they stopped the “copycats,” but let’s be clear that London experienced a massive terrorist attack and the cameras did absolutely nothing to stop it.

    In addition, it brings up the case of the young Brazilian man that was gunned down by police, in cold blood, in the London train station.

    Seems his coat was “suspicious and unusual” (at least tat’s what Police claimed at the time- I think they subsequently changed their story when the details of this tragedy were made public).

    Seems the police had him under surveillance simply because he happened to live in the same flat complex as some terrorist suspects (the police apparently were unclear on the concept of the apartment block).

    And, it seems, his guilt was predetermined- he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time,” his manner of dress was “suspicious and unusual,” and, perhaps most damning of all, he was brown. But I feel much better knowing it wasn’t the camera’s fault.



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