Big Brother is looming over Manchester, and our hosts are pushing back with a lawsuit against proposed surveillance cameras on Elm St. From ancient Roman secret police to Bentham’s Panopticon and Orwell’s telescreens, surveillance has been a topic of controversy and discussion for as long as humans have existed in community with one another. What cultural and political changes would constant surveillance bring to New Hampshire? Dive into the dirty details on this week’s episode of Told You So! LISTEN NOW…
I’m working on a summary of yesterday’s proceedings regarding the City of Manchester’s proposed plans to put up several surveillance cameras downtown. In the mean time, here’s today’s coverage from local media sources…
We want more privacy,” plaintiff Carla Gericke said. “We want the government’s role to be limited and restricted as it’s constitutionally supposed to be. Let’s not turn into a big brother Orwellian surveillance state.”
Gericke, a liberty activist who has sought state and local office, said she would have no issue with a storeowner installing a camera and voluntarily sharing video with police. ‘Everyone’s working together. That’s a decentralized approach,’ she said. ‘What we’re talking about here is a very centralized approach where it’s centralized in one group of people’s hands. We don’t know really what’s going to happen to the data and I think it’s naive to just say we should trust them.’
Carla Gericke, president emeritus of the Free State Project and a Manchester activist who led a protest against the cameras last April outside City Hall. She is concerned about the cameras having a chilling effect on future protests. She questioned whether the cameras would record future protesters and if the police would use the information to make a database of trouble-makers and renegades.
Last week, we were ready, willing and able for arguments regarding the illegal police cameras being proposed downtown. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, the matter has been postponed and another judge was assigned to the hearing, which will now take place on July 9th.
The Union Leader covered the delay here, mentioning the fact that the City of Manchester has argued that several other jurisdictions are already using cameras, so it must be A-OK. Following this logic, if a cop bust you for speeding, you can argue it’s OK because other people were speeding and breaking the law, too… right?
Police Department’s latest defense for its downtown surveillance cameras: At least five other communities do it. A wrinkle to their argument: Milford, Concord, Exeter, Salem and Claremont stream their video feeds on the internet for all to see — usually for promotional reasons. Manchester city officials named the five communities in a 10-page legal brief filed Monday in Hillsborough County Superior Court. The brief is a response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by civil libertarians challenging plans for police surveillance cameras on Elm Street.