As our world continues on its lurch toward abject, constant surveillance, there are some very real concerns about hwo this could impact our constitutional rights here in the United States.
In particular, our 4th Amendment right protecting us against unlawful search and seizure is essentially null and void if you have the eyes of authority on you at all times. The veil of privacy is torn asunder, and the powers that be now have their eyes on you at all times.
In California, another large step toward this Orwellian dystopia has arrived.
In a 7-4 vote on Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors agreed to test Mayor London Breed’s controversial plan to overhaul the city’s surveillance practices, which will allow police to access private security cameras in real time.
Unsurprisingly, there was swift and stern dissent.
Supervisors Catherine Stefani, Aaron Peskin, Gordon Mar, Matt Dorsey, Myrna Melgar, Rafael Mandelman and Ahsha Safaí voted to approve the trial run, while Connie Chan, Dean Preston, Hillary Ronen and Shamann Walton voted in dissent.
“I know the thought process is, ‘Just trust us, just trust the police department.’ But the reality is people have been violating civil liberties since my ancestors were brought here from an entirely, completely different continent,” Walton — the board president and District 10 representative — said.
Authorities proclaimed that there were to be guardrails put in place to protect Americans’ right to privacy.
Under the new policy, police can access up to 24 hours of live video of outdoor footage from private surveillance cameras owned by individuals or businesses without a warrant as long as the camera’s owner allows it. Police must meet one of three outlined criteria to use their newfound power: they must be responding to a life-threatening emergency, deciding how to deploy officers in response to a large public event or conducting a criminal investigation that was approved in writing by a captain or higher-ranking police official.
Of course, we should be reminded that Big Brother has historically taken a mile when given an inch, and apply a grain of salt to such declarations.