Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Thing About Surveillance

After the Berlin terror act in December.....folks were a bit hyped up and demanding of action.  So the government of the city of Berlin (SPD-Green-Linke Party)....came to some basic agreement of more video surveillance.

Oddly, there are limits to this, and a very finely written part of the agreement which says this is temporary and limited.

RBB did an update over the story, which tells the whole blunt side of this.

Accusations by the German Police Worker's Union came up as part of this whole discussion.  They wanted cameras not only at city events (like the Christmas Market), but in crime centers (like the train station area and main shopping district....something that the city government just wasn't going to agree with.

On the other side of this whole story....the city did agree to a massive upgrade on police equipment, guns and bullet-proof vests.

Why not a larger surveillance footprint or more cameras?  There is a general German attitude about it being wrong to film people or their actions without their consent.  It's not a Berlin thing....it cuts across most of Germany itself.  When Google offered up overhead imagery of houses.....almost immediately you had home owners who did not want their backyard or property to be viewed by the general public.  The Bundestag acted quickly and forced Google to cooperate.

Since this political team (SPD-Green-Linke) are newly elected, they believe they have a mandate and will be around until 2021 when the next election occurs.  If they screw up....it is very possible that another group will surge up in the polls and become a leader by 2021.

My personal take on surveillance cameras?  It really doesn't help prior to the incident or crime.  It helps in a massive way after the crime, as you track this guy or group down some street, and onto another street, or down into a subway station, and onto this train, and emerge 20 minutes later on the opposite side of town and walk into an apartment house.  You end up catching the bad guys.....putting them into a court where evidence of absolute nature with the camera is part of the legal proceeding.  You go to prison for some bad stuff.  End of the story.

In this case, I would imagine that as each month goes by and some other stupid act by a radical guy occurs....this policy on the limited use to cameras will come up.....again and again.  Eventually, the city will be drawn into a public debate and discover that a large number of citizens are questioning the safety of Berlin.  

Whether people are anti-surveillance or not....they will eventually agree that their safety rises above the concerns of surveillance.

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