Council Taking Bids for Downtown Cameras

City Council wants bids to have security cameras all around the Downtown Mall, after a spate of assaults have have occurred just about everywhere downtown but the Downtown Mall, the Progress reports. Police Chief Longo has proposed 30 cameras for $300k, though it remains to be seen what the bids determine is feasible. I’m fond of Tim McCormack’s proposal that, fine, we put up the cameras, but that all the video be streamed real-time to the internet.

I’m assigning reading to City Council: Jeremy Bentham‘s “The Panopticon Writings” or Michel Foucault‘s “Discipline & Punish,” which explores modern applications of Bentham’s theories on surveillance. We really can’t have a proper discussion of the merits of becoming a surveillance society without getting the decision makers up to speed.

10:30pm Update: Jennifer McKeever attended last night’s Council meeting, and provides each councilor’s stated position. Apparently Dave Norris cited Tim’s suggestion of putting the video online, and Chief Longo supports it. Wonderful.

07/18 Update: Seth Rosen has a more detailed look in today’s Progress, including an account of putting the video online that is far less rosy than I’d gathered. Ah, well.

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