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Augmented Reality Security – the Pros (Part II)

by Beth Divine 16 Jun 2018

Traditionally, the idea of an entirely surveilled society has been a dark one. Big Brother was Orwell’s ever-watching, remorseless and ruthless overlord in the dystopian 1984, and there are many more movies and books in which a (usually anonymous) all-powerful ‘them’ watches and waits, pouncing unforgivingly on the slightest step out of line.

But is this perhaps only one extreme view of the situation?

When we live in a society where several people have died and this has not been noticed for months, and even years; when people – vulnerable people, teenagers and even young children – go missing or fall victim to predators because no one sees bad things happening, is it really so wrong to want to see everything that goes on? An excellent case in point is the recent spike of ‘blue on black’ killing that happened in the USA; ‘blue on black’ referring to the disproportionate lethal force used by police officers on African American citizens. (And in case anyone wants to dismiss these cases because some of the black men had criminal records: since when has a policeman had the right to be judge, jury and executioner? If they are criminals (and this is not a given) they should be arrested and brought to trial in a fair and impartial manner…) There has been at least one case of total outrage when one killing could not be viewed because the policeman claimed his bodycam was faulty at the time of the incident. With more universal surveillance, the courts would have had a much easier time ascertaining the truth. As it is now, one side will always believe the policeman while the other side will always believe that something hinky went on and was covered up…

There is a wide network of CCTV in most urban areas (with Germany apparently happy to be the most observed nation in Europe) but there are still gaps in footage when criminals are aware of the cameras and work to avoid or disable them. But if every person was always connected, the technology could exist before long that would enable law enforcement to ‘see’ crimes in order to solve how they happened and pinpoint the perpetrators.

The beauty of a comprehensive, multi-focal surveillance system is that it will be very hard to hack, disengage or damage – if one or two of the many points of view are lost, no problem, there are many more – and justice will still be done.

Some may decry this idea, saying that it is intrusive and unnecessary. Those who are more vulnerable may disagree, feeling that such a system will give them much-needed support.

For those who genuinely hate the idea, one question: what do you have to hide?