Posts Tagged 'security cameras'

Long Island Town Installs Massive Surveillance Camera System

The Long Island town of Kings Point has decided everything within its limits will be recorded.

The 3.3-square mile North Shore community is home to 5,000 residents. The plan calls for 44 cameras to eventually be installed at the village’s 19 entrances. That’s about one camera for every 120 people.

Anyone who enters the town will have their license plate scanned and, if there is a match in a criminal database, the police will be notified. The mayor says it’s to protect residents because there are apparently many crimes in this upscale, exclusive community.

I’m all for catching criminals, but the invasion of privacy implications are just…whoa.

Source: CBS New York (via Gawker)

Chicago: Windy and Watched 24/7

Photo by RUNFAR

It’s always funny when people get upset about being photographed in public because they clearly don’t realize how much they already are being filmed. But I guess it’s preferable to be filmed by a vast network of surveillance and security cameras over a lone street photographer. Right? Right.

And if you’re in Chicago, you should know you are being filmed more than in any other city in the US. The city is plastered with cameras — likely over 10,000 of them — and the police use them to solve crimes from suicides to drug sales, and the people are just fine with it.

In less than a decade and with little opposition, the city has linked thousands of cameras — on street poles and skyscrapers, aboard buses and in train tunnels — in a network covering most of the city. Officials can watch video live at a sprawling emergency command center, police stations and even some squad cars.

What’s more, the ever-politic Mayor Richard Daley says he could install 10,000 more cameras and no one would say a thing. So, watch out.

(Funny thing is, these cameras never seem to videotape Chicago’s corrupt politicians or abusive police force breaking the law.)

Article from Chicago Tribune

All Eyes on California Town

Photo by view-askew

The tiny town of Tiburon, Calif., wants to install almost $200,000 worth of security cameras so it can track all the cars coming into its city limits. Officials think it’s an effective measure against car theft. NPR says the “plan could effectively turn Tiburon into perhaps the nation’s first public gated community.”

Nevermind that crime, and car theft, is low in the town. This is another example of supporting the wrong solution to solve a big, tough problem. Nicole Ozer of the ACLU says instead of spending money on more law enforcement, they’re doing something that opens a can of worms – one that can lead to charges of spying and discrimination.

Jennifer King, a Berkeley professor of technology and public policy, goes even further to say privacy protections are a risk here – and can ultimately be used against the residents. She says these this type of data is always used for more than its original intent, citing toll records that have been subpoenaed in divorce cases.  

At a city council meeting, Tiburon resident Terry Graham said, “I’m horrified this is before us. We shouldn’t be surveiled every moment of the day. Why do we need to spend money to surveil residents who are innocent?”

Article via NPR and the Marin Independent Journal

Talking to…Photographer Richard Gordon


In his book American Surveillance photographer Richard Gordon takes on the topic of the ubiquity of surveillance cameras in the US. By documenting security cameras – in malls, buildings, musuems, on the streets – Gordon reminds us we’re being watched nearly all the time.

Gordon is a part-time instructor of photography at City College of San Francisco and Stanford Continuing Studies, and he’ll be a part of “Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera” at the Tate Modern in London in June 2010. He’ll also have four photographs at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from October 23 through January 2010. Here, he answered a few questions about the book and photography for us.

What was the origin of this project for you – the spark or series of events that made you want to do it?

I photograph the social landscape and began to notice what seemed like an exponential increase in surveillance cameras in January ’03 and began to photograph them as part of the urban landscape.

Are these photographs more the result of seeking out the surveillance cameras, or happening upon them?

I avidly sought them out for five or six weeks and quickly came to realize that it was not necessary; they were everywhere and I just go about my business and photograph them in day-to-day life and photography. I did eventually make some trips with the object of photographing them in different places.

Before this project did you have an accurate idea of the amount of surveillance cameras out there? Was it eye-opening?

I have no idea of the number of surveillance cameras then or now except that there are many more now than in ’03. Everything is eye-opening.

It is often difficult to photograph malls and institutions and even architecture in this day and age with security concerns. Did you ever experience problems when taking these photos – either from security or passersby?

Malls are private property and the law regarding photography in public and private places is different and I know the differences. The most obnoxious incident was with an assistant manager at a Safeway market. In general I did not have problems for a few reasons (I suppose, but cannot prove): 1., I am a middle-aged, white-haired white guy. 2., I know how to photograph and when one does something with confidence and competence, most people accept it. I almost never skulked around and at times would make it obvious to any potential viewer of my photographing that I was taking my time, giving the surveillors time to study me as I made my pictures (the precise nature of which they could have no idea). In some circumstances, I would approach a security guard or employee and ask permission. I was chased off the steps of Enron after I made the pictures I wanted to.


I’ve noticed on our own blog when we write about the erosion of civil liberties, people actually (and often belligerently) write in defending the government or police tactics and call those who are outraged “radicals,” saying things like it’s just keeping us safe from terrorists. What’s your take on that?

I try not to argue with the ignorant. There seems to be more than enough stupidity and/or ignorance on all sides of these issues than I care to indulge in.

Continue reading ‘Talking to…Photographer Richard Gordon’

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