Who’s Watching

The incorporated village of Kings Point, located in Nassau County, New York, has recently initiated a video surveillance program that reeks of “Big Brother”. Video cameras are being installed at all entrances into the village so that every automobile’s license plate is recorded. The license plate information will then be sent electronically to databases to determine if the car or driver is wanted by any state or federal agency. If the car or driver is wanted the police will be immediately dispatched to stop the vehicle and presumably make an arrest. While proponents of this type of invasive electronic monitoring argue that if you have not broken the law you have nothing to worry about, one has to question the civil liberties implications. The government will be keeping an electronic log of when and where you have been, that is scary. That is right out of George Orwell’s book 1984. What is even more disturbing is that Kings Point is only 3.3 square miles and has its own police department. Does the village really need this system? Are the police incapable of competently patrolling this minute area or does Kings Park just have too much money?

Many of us are already familiar with the “Red Light Cameras” that have been popping up all over Long Island. These cameras take video of automobiles that pass through red lights. The owner of the vehicle is then sent a ticket with a web link to watch the video online of the vehicle as it passes through the red light. The fine is $50.00 with a $10.00 surcharge. What impact these cameras have on driver safety is debatable since slamming on one’s brakes to avoid a ticket can cause an accident just as easily as running a red light.  What is not debatable is that these cameras are generating millions of dollars for the county. So is it the safety factor or revenue raising that has motivated the installation of these metal eye sores? I suggest that it is revenue raising.


 Facial recognition software is currently utilized at sporting events and other large gatherings to filter through crowds and find wanted individuals. If other communities follow Kings Point lead you may soon have you’re every movement video taped once you step outside your door. I do not believe that government should be video monitoring lawful citizens in public even if it doesn’t violate the law. The next time that you pull up to a traffic light and see a video cameral just remember your being watched and it is being recorded.

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