Free «Case 6: City Number One and City Number Two» Essay Sample

Case 6: City Number One and City Number Two
  1. In City Number Two the access to video cameras is given to all citizens, they have access to video streams including those from police departments. Anyone can check what police officers are doing; therefore, the police will have to be efficient, respectful, and accountable. The police will have to be efficient because people are able to check whether they are handling threats quickly and efficiently; if not, such instances will be reported and handled. The police will have to be respectful because their misconduct will be detected and reported. The police will be accountable because any person will have an opportunity to watch how they work. In this way, people will also make sure that surveillance cameras are used only for combating crime and their personal information will not be used for any other aims. Policemen similarly to ordinary citizens will be watched; as a result, citizens will be held accountable to the law, and policemen will be held accountable to people.
  2. Cameras are already installed in cities around the world and are efficient in combating crime. The first city to install cameras was King’s Lynn in Great Britain, where they were put in trouble zones. The crime rate in these zones decreased to one seventieth of the level before cameras were installed. Such example was followed by other cities. Glasgow reported a 68% drop in crime rate as a result of installing cameras, while in Newcastle, cameras helped to identify offenders who misbehaved in the streets. All in all, there are 300,000 cameras installed in Great Britain. Other countries, such as Singapore and Japan have followed the example. North America has also followed the trend: all downtown intersections are scanned by cameras in Baltimore; surveillance is installed in certain public places in New York.
  3. Brin considers criticism valuable because it is an antidote to repeating errors; it lets a person learn from their mistakes and not repeat those same mistakes in the future. As a result of criticism, scientific and other ideas survive and gain respect. After dealing with the refuting evidence and forced changes, ideas become accepted. There is a connection between criticism and transparency, because for a fact, deed, idea, etc. to be criticized, this fact, deed, idea, etc. should be known; the world should be transparent for facts to be known. The more a society becomes transparent, the more facts about it are known, which can be criticized and, as a result, improved. It now becomes true even referring to people in power, because media has stripped away much secrecy and more facts have become available for criticism.
  4. In the two cities described by Brin, cameras are present almost everywhere, but while in City Number One police have control over the cameras, in City Number Two the material from the cameras is available to all citizens. In City Number One, people have little privacy and leave the recorded material for the police to use; they have no control over the police and over what is done to the information acquired about them through cameras. In City Number Two, any person can access video streams from any camera including those installed in police departments. Therefore, people can use video cameras for their own aims, for example, to check whether no one is hiding behind a dark corner, and in this way, increase their security. Also, this enables people to make sure that the police are working efficiently and that authorities are not using the recorded material in a way that may harm the citizens.
  5. In the article “The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon,” Jamais Cascio claims that the cellphone will become a tool for massive social transformation. The author recounts the events of the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York to support his claim. Police arrested nearly two thousand people there, accusing them of rioting and resisting arrest. Video tapes taken by the police showing the misbehavior of the people were used as evidence in the case. However, the videos taken by independent citizens showed that people were arrested for no particular reason, and it became apparent that police videos misrepresented the events. As a result, in 91% of the cases arrested people were proven not guilty. The event has shown that people with the help of mobile devices can now have influence on authorities.

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