28 Jun 2017

28th June 2017 See me, Jimmy! 😳

Wednesday 28th 55F, overcast, becoming breezy, showers promised.

I have removed the earlier piece on publication [by the mother] of  an image of a person who "flashed" himself repeatedly at her 10-year-old daughter in a supermarket car park. The mother captured a still of the person from the security camera footage.

The image was published before the suspect was later tried and convicted. My earlier sympathy with the disparity between the fines for the original "offense" [of flashing repeatedly] and the publication of image of the "suspect" had assumed the person had already been found guilty in a court of law. The online news story had not made that very clear.

My attempt to use the case an an illustration of the difficulty of sharing cycling action cam videos [or stills] still holds IMO. In many other countries videos and stills are often used online to shame bad drivers [or other people] who are behaving badly or illegally in a public place and, by their own actions, seriously endangering the public.

Appearing in public inevitably places one in the range of almost countless cameras these days. Any expectations of privacy must be balanced against expected minimum standards of public behaviour. If one has registration plates on one's vehicle [as is required by law] then that vehicle is uniquely identifiable to almost all who see or record the vehicle's actions. Only a fool would assume they enjoy total anonymity. If the driver then behaves like an idiot they have only themselves to  blame if they later appear in a YT video with the registration plates clearly visible.

 Filming and later publishing any obviously illegal or poor behaviour should surely be a normal, human right. The camera owner becomes a local extension of the law when the police can't be everywhere. Their images should be taken seriously by the police even if they themselves were not actually present. Sharing images of bad driving behaviour could result in a dangerous criminal being denied their license to repeatedly commit dangerous crimes against the public. Sharing identifiable images of violence could limit a sociopath, terrorist or gangster's freedom to cause mayhem.

It seems to be often the case [in Denmark at least] that the police do not attend every single crime scene. Assuming a shopkeeper has video evidence and a living suspect, who has the stolen goods concealed on them, how is the shopkeeper to react to being told the police will not attend? The most obvious "justice" in this case is to publish the images of the illegal behaviour and identify the [supposedly innocent] criminal. What other recourse does the shopkeeper have if they are to stay in business?

Yet, in Denmark, the shopkeeper will be prosecuted even for sharing images with fellow shopkeepers as a warning on who is on the prowl. When does the "greater good" of public privacy outweigh the rights of a shopkeeper to remain in business? Or should he act as a free outlet for every scumbag who wants to leave without paying? If only to maintain the right to privacy of the very scumbags threatening his [very] public service.

One could stretch the case that public supervision of the public themselves, by camera, could lead to some kind of authoritarian, controlling hell. I would argue that this is very far removed from sharing a few videos online, of bad, or dangerous behaviour. The public already monitors and often reports bad behavior. The difference is only one of kind. Using a camera is apt to be far more accurate and useful at identification than fuzzy memory alone.

Bottom line: Where it is blindingly obvious that many drivers speed past an unfenced, school playground why may I not record the actions of those same drivers? Why may I not place that video on YT as a gentle means of persuasion for all drivers to behave like competent adults? Rather than sociopaths without a care in the world for the consequences. Simply because they know that police cars and radar traps are as rare as unicorn droppings in rural Denmark. This is not remotely a criticism of the police. Whose duties, numbers and funds are primarily controlled by politicians.

Tomorrow, and Friday in particular, will be very wet. Deluge levels of wet with possible cloudbursts are forecast.  

Click on any image for an enlargement.