Technology certainly played a crucial role in the hunt for the two Boston Marathon bombers, whether it was important smartphone pictures from the public or the forward-looking infrared cameras that spotted suspect No. 2 in the backyard boat.
But the best piece of evidence may have come from a Lord and Taylor department store security camera, which provided video of one of the suspects dropping his backpack at the spot of the bombing.
Yes, we like our privacy. To some of us, it’s uncomfortable to think that cameras seem to be always watching our every move. But the fact is that surveillance cameras helped the FBI solve this complicated crime and allowed the city of Boston to live in peace.
This is certainly a hotly-debated topic. One of our most popular and commented posts of all time centered on the so-called “Creepy Camerman,” also known as the guy who went around Seattle, walking up to people and recording them for no apparent reason other than to make a point: How is what he’s doing different than those stationary surveillance cameras tucked away in buildings and public places?
You can watch one of this videos above for a better idea. Technology author and blogger Brian S. Hall made the point that this could be a preview of our future, with technology such as Google’s Project Glass making cameras and recording devices even more pervasive in our daily lives.
Google Glass, the company’s high-tech spectacles set to hit shelves later this year, have also sparked privacy debates. Here in Seattle, the 5 Point Cafe became one of the first establishments to declare a ban on Google Glasses to prevent its patrons from being recorded, even though the 5 Point has its own surveillance cameras.
But some, like Farhad Manjoo over at Slate, say we actually need more cameras. Manjoo wrote a well-thought out piece and ended his thoughts with this:
Cameras helped the FBI find persons of interest in the marathon bombing. But could they have done more? I can’t tell you if the marathon bombing would have been prevented if Boston had a larger network of cameras being monitored by software or human operators. It’s certainly possible that if the cops were watching the scene in real time from 100 different angles, they might have missed something. But at least they would have had a chance to see something. That’s better than staying in the dark.
So what do y’all think? Will we arrive at a point when every single little thing is recorded, a la The Truman Show? Wouldn’t that help to solve these types of crimes or even prevent them? Or should a privacy line be drawn permanently?
Comment with your thoughts below.
Previously on GeekWire: Google Glass half full: Why that ‘ban’ may not be needed