Letter from George Hymas
Main St. Cameras a ‘Slippery Slope’
The Village of Cooperstown is currently exploring the installation of strategically placed surveillance cameras in the village.
The collection of data from the cameras can be viewed by the government and other local authorities and can be used to maximize surveillance of local citizens. Racial profiling, collection of vehicle registrations and the gathering of citizens for legal demonstrations or enjoyment are a few of the concerns that come to mind.
The possible addition of facial recognition software or other data collection and surveillance risk violating privacy laws. Let’s not go down the slippery slope of the village becoming a “Big Brother” to its citizens or visitors.
George W. Hymas
The surveillance technologies Mr. Hymas cites (facial recognition, profiling, license plate recording, etc.) can cut two ways. A nasty government might intimidate people and shut down dissent. Also, abducted children might be saved and criminals might be brought to justice. Since ‘good people’ can be found on both sides of this issue, like many others, the question becomes how we measure the pros and cons. I wonder what criteria the Village proposes to use to assess the pros and cons in this case to decide whether the idea is worth it or not.