Priceline.com founder Jay Walker has founded a new company USHomeGuard whose purpose is to employ people to watch critical infrastructure sites over the internet using web cams to alert security officials of potentially dangerous intruders.
But if onsite cameras beamed photos to the World Wide Web, Americans could monitor these sites from home. If they spied a potential attacker - a masked man trying to scale a power plant fence, or a van parked next to a reservoir - they could alert security agents with a click of the mouse. Agents would call local authorities and help avert disaster.
This proposal is very much in keeping with ideas that science fiction writer David Brin has described in his non-fiction book The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? and in his fun fiction read Earth. There is a definite inevitability to Walker's business idea regardless of whether his company eventually succeeds in making it into a commercial success.
Government employees will amount to only a small fraction of the total number of people watching security cameras and other surveillance sensors. Far more people in private companies will conduct electronic surveillance. But the largest users of surveillance technologies will likely turn out to be private individuals watching their families, homes, romantic interests, celebrities, and anything else that interests them.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2003 May 26 01:34 AM Surveillance Cameras|