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Reality Nudges Ahead of Dystopia

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Of Britain's 4.2 million interconnected CCTV surveillance cameras, a whopping 32 are within 200 yards of George Orwell's home.
 
The CCTV system, by the way, is the wet dream of several big city American mayors, including Chicago's Richard Daley and New York's Michael Bloomberg.
 
Related article on the scary rise of the British Nanny State here.
 
Finally, in a story so bewildering it may retire the entire concept of "Orwellian" once and for all, the company that owns the copyright to Orwell's 1984 recently sent a chill letter to YouTube over the now-famous anti-Hillary "Vote Different" video because, at the end, it makes a reference to the Orwell's novel, the implication being that copyright law prevents anyone from citing 1984 in a work attempting to warn us that the state is ascending to 1984-like proportions. Which probably means this entire post is illegal, too.
 
Unfortunately, there isn't an April Fool's joke anywhere in this post.

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  1. Chicago’s Mayor is Richard Daley.

  2. I am from Chicago and the surveillance cameras has contributed to a reduction of crime. The benefits outweigh the costs; libertarians, who are into economics, should appreciate this cost/benefit analysis.

  3. Who will be the first Crispus Attucks of the NWO?

    My guess is there will be a police/military over reaction to a as yet unknown event which will finally start to change public opinion from the current 9/11 mindset of fear.

    It may be a non violent event, like Rosa Parks, or a death event more like Kent State, but there will have to be a galvanizing event before anything changes in a meaningful way.

  4. Wait, making mention of a copyrighted work now constitutes copyright infringement?

  5. thoreau,

    I think the issue was that the ad used footage from the 1984 Macintosh ad. Rosenblum (the copyright holder) claims that the original Mac ad was itself a copyright violation, since it used footage similar to the opening of the movie version of 1984, though I don’t know if they ever went after Apple for it.

  6. Actually, the Hillary ad used an updated version of Apple’s original 1984 ad. When they launched the iPod they digitally inserted one on the hammer throwing babe. This version was never actually broadcast (the original aired only once) but was released on the internet.

    So Rosenblum would have had two opportunities to go after Apple, but apparently chose not to. Sort of makes me wonder who Rosemblum is donating to this election cycle.

    For that matter I wonder why Apple didn’t send a cease and desist to YouTube. They wouldn’t have had a legal leg to stand on but I’m surprised given their history that they didn’t try.

  7. For that matter I wonder why Apple didn’t send a cease and desist to YouTube.

    Well, for one thing, Apple has iPods and Macs to sell, and thus has to consider the negative PR they would get if they went after this ad.

    That’s not a concern for copyright vultures, whose business model is solely dependent on rent-seeking.

  8. Is it safe to blame Sonny Bono for this?

    Or Bono. He did do those iPod commercials.

    Mary Bono sponsored the legislation.

    I think the Orwell carpetbaggers (great word from BoingBoing that fits perfectly) have pulled a boner.

  9. Carpetbagging has nothing to do with what the copyright holder is doing. Or is carpetbagger the new Nazi?

  10. Joe User:

    “libertarians, who are into economics, should appreciate this cost/benefit analysis.”

    No that is not true. At least at this board. That might be the case elsewhere. But not here

    What passes for economics here is yelling (Matt Damon in Team America style), “DEMAND KURV!!!” really loudly and spittling (sic) on the screen. And you get misunderstood fake “austrian” “analysis” of a situation they sorta heard after taking ECON 79.

    in light of that, and in light of the phrase “cost benefit analysis”, you are on the Highnumber’s….. “list”. (also that there is no sourcing whatsoever kinda dings the point. Nor does the marginal analysis of security/liberty tradeoff get considered).

  11. I had dystopia once.

    Kaopectate stopped it right up.

    Hope all had a great weekend. : )

  12. crimethink,

    Maybe we are witnessing the evolution of the word as we post. To my mind (and BoingBoing’s, from whom I’ve already stated I stole the term), a case where someone buys the copyright to someone’s literary works with the intention of policing the airwaves/internet to make sure those copyrights are not “infringed” seems to fit a loose, newer definition of carpetbagger.

    According to a 1999 BBC article:

    In the UK the term has come to describe speculators who pour money into building societies in the hope that they can reap rich rewards when the societies turn into banks.

    Call me an Anglophile, but that definition works for me. It’s still loose, but I’d say that “patent trolls”, or in this case “copyright trolls” are nothing more than carpetbaggers.

  13. Yeah, on second thought I guess the meanings are similar. I’ve heard “vultures” used more often to describe the behavior of the speculators in the BBC story, but either way.

    Ironically, the most recent person I referred to as a carpetbagger was the subject of the ad in question!

  14. WTF, I was just poking around the WikiP article on 1984, and found out that my name has been coopted by a leftist anarchist network (CrimethInc). I may have to write them an angry letter…

  15. I may have to write them an angry letter…

    Fire is effective too.

  16. Heh…should I burn their energy hog Priuses in retaliation for that Hummer dealer incident?

  17. That REAL comes in handy, crimethink.

    Thanks Eminem!

  18. I wonder how many libertarians realize that Orwell was a Trotskyist.

  19. I was thinking of the Ghostbusters cartoon, not the latter-day Vanilla Ice.

  20. I wonder how many libertarians realize that Orwell was a Trotskyist.

    And John Locke wrote a constitution for South Carolina that included a provision legalizing slavery.

    And Robert Nozick went after his landlord in the early 1980s for violating a draconian Cambridge rent control statute.

    And Thomas Jefferson owned slaves.

    And F.A. Hayek believed in minimum wage laws and social welfare programs.

    Why do people think that you need to agree with 100% of someone’s philosophy in order to acknowledge that any small part of it has merit? Jeez.

  21. 32 cameras in 200 yards ? That’s practically a blackout – between Big brother and the private sector , Cool Britain now boasts 14,200,000 CCTV’s.

    But who’s watching all the megamonitors?–
    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/02/the_panopticon_.html

  22. Rosenblum is probably one of Goldstein’s Brotherhood.

    Kevin

  23. VM,

    First you force me to retire the list, then you add people to it.
    What, am I your puppet now?

    But, yeah, “cost benefit analysis”? So utilitarian.

  24. I was thinking of the Ghostbusters cartoon, not the latter-day Vanilla Ice.

    Okay, but Eminem is no “latter-day Vanilla Ice.” Vanilla Ice is a nobody compared to Eminem, even if you don’t like his music.

  25. thoreau | April 1, 2007, 6:39pm | #
    Wait, making mention of a copyrighted work now constitutes copyright infringement?

    We’re not living in an Orwellian world.
    This is a Galambosian Galaxy.

  26. This is a Galambosian Galaxy.

    I wish. If copyright protection went so far, the masses would lose all respect for the system and we might get reasonable IP laws. Instead, we’ll get a gradual slide toward Galambosian copyright laws and the people will just see these laws as “normal”. Most people will accept just about anything if it’s imposed upon them slowly enough. People don’t like pain, but usually won’t make a big stink about a little discomfort. Politicians must know this. It is their usual modus operandi.

  27. Yup. It’s the old “throw a frog into hot water and he’ll hop out, throw him in cold water and slowly turn up the heat and soon you’ll be eating frog leg soup” routine.

  28. Regarding Joe Users comment: “I am from Chicago and the surveillance cameras has (sic) contributed to a reduction in crime.”

    Just let me point out that most Americans are statistically innumerate. (I don’t know about Joe.) Even for those who are not innumerate, the MSM rarely reports enough information to allow a judgement that a statistic is valid. Invalidity, on the other hand, is sometimes appearent.

    Many politicians seem to be aware of this. They will feed us anything we seem inclined to believe, if it suits their purpose. In my opinion, the only reason we don’t have politicians lining up to calim credit for the regularity of the tides of the sea is that they don’t think we would buy that particular claim.

    When we attempt to “pay” for a feeling of security by giving up a little more liberty, are we even getting what we’ve “paid” for? How can we tell?

  29. “people think that you need to agree with 100% of someone’s philosophy in order to acknowledge that any small part of it has merit? Jeez.”

    thats all libertarians do. Nothing but the purist an-cap, baby. Suck on Murray Rothbards withered dead ass and it tastes like anarchist bread pudding! Yea!

    Stop worshiping at his dead ass and you’re a unprincipled republican spy out to sabotage the LP! As if ANYONE can sabotage the LP better and faster than libertarians themselves?!

  30. What is it about this thread that has the trolls swarming? The brightly colored picture?

    “Stop worshiping at his dead ass and you’re a [sic] unprincipled republican [sic] spy out to sabotage the LP! As if ANYONE can sabotage the LP better and faster than libertarians themselves?!”

    Do we really have to explain the difference between Libertarians and libertarians? Really?

  31. High#:
    “What, am I your puppet now?”

    oh, no! What *they* don’t realize is that we’re providing a classical misdirection so that Mr. Steven Crane may ascend the throne and gyrate!

    Moose is pawn in game of life

  32. I am from Chicago and the surveillance cameras has contributed to a reduction of crime. The benefits outweigh the costs; libertarians, who are into economics, should appreciate this cost/benefit analysis.

    Um, I see the benefit analysis in your “cost/benefit analysis”, but where is the cost analysis? You realize that in this case the slash mark is an “and”, not an “or”, right?

  33. # Timothy West | April 2, 2007, 7:02am | #
    # “people think that you need to agree
    # with 100% of someone’s philosophy in
    # order to acknowledge that any small
    # part of it has merit? Jeez.”

    # thats all libertarians do. Nothing but
    # the purist an-cap, baby. Suck on Murray
    # Rothbards withered dead ass and it tastes
    # like anarchist bread pudding! Yea!

    # Stop worshiping at his dead ass and
    # you’re a unprincipled republican spy
    # out to sabotage the LP!

    I’ve registered and considered myself as Libertarian since 1980. I’ll throw-down in debate with any more-libertarian-than-thou types anytime. I’ve known about Orwell’s socialist history even longer than that. I still think his writings — especially 1984 and Animal Farm — have much to teach libertarians, and that, in many ways, Orwell’s withered, dead old embittered socialist ass has helped libertarians more than some of the luminaries that West alleges we “worship.”

    Someone mentioned that Orwell was a Trotskyist. Weren’t the top neocons, also? And yet, anyone who understood Orwell could have seen the neo-CON a mile away. Takes one to out one, I guess.

  34. “I am from Chicago…”

    I wouldn’t’ve believed it if you didn’t confess.

    “…and the surveillance cameras has contributed to a reduction of crime. The benefits outweigh the costs;”

    Did I miss your list of costs and benefits? And even it you had put forth some cursory analysis, my experience is that libertarians are just as philosophical as practical, if not more philosophical. Your utilitarian argument will always be suspect in the eyes of many libertarians.

    “libertarians, who are into economics, should appreciate this cost/benefit analysis.”

    I don’t really know what this last phrase means, so I’m just going to say we should arrest everybody on Earth and watch the crime rate plunge.

  35. I think the cameras are a good thing because they help keep the police honest. Police seem to have hidden the footage in the Demenezes and Princess Di cases, but that doesn’t work too often. People catch on. More recently, those Chicago videotapes, while privately owned, are just the stuff. You better believe they have made Chicago marginally safer.

  36. VM,
    Classical misdirection? Shite, I thought it was a pincer movement.

    If you’re a pawn, I guess I’m just the lone black checker on the chessboard of life.

  37. At least you can still blog about it! 🙂

    actually it was a smoke screen… a double bluff. Look – it was an XK Red 27 technique… you obviously don’t know anything about intelligence.
    (paraphrased from what classic scene?)

    [ducks – avoids weather comment and how the lake looks. beats self with copy of Stata manual.]

  38. My father was in the Daley administration, Mr. Moosefredjinsinjin, and I know perfectly well that you don’t keep the general public informed when you are “selling contraband fatty goose liver at an encased meats emporium.”

  39. oh, you don’t, do you.

    well do you know where’d you’d be without us, the United Sausage King of Chicago? I’ll tell you where. The smallest fucking suburb of Rockford. So thank me!

  40. Police seem to have hidden the footage in the Demenezes and Princess Di cases, but that doesn’t work too often.

    Was there a time that it didn’t work? I follow such things fairly closely, and I can’t remember the last time a police crime was caught on govt video, and the video wasn’t malfunctioning, lost, or accidentally filed next to a bar magnet in the evidence locker.

    Of course, what would solve the quandry would be to have video feeds from cameras in public places available to anyone via the Internet. I’ve got no problem with others watching me (in public) so long as I can watch them right back.

  41. I’ve registered and considered myself as Libertarian since 1980. I’ll throw-down in debate with any more-libertarian-than-thou types anytime. I’ve known about Orwell’s socialist history even longer than that. I still think his writings — especially 1984 and Animal Farm — have much to teach libertarians, and that, in many ways, Orwell’s withered, dead old embittered socialist ass has helped libertarians more than some of the luminaries that West alleges we “worship.”

    Careful talking like that, or the libertarian thought police will be out to bust you for “statism.”

  42. “Did I miss your list of costs and benefits?”

    Well, I said there was a reduction in crime. As to costs, I plead not presenting any, because at the time I really had a hard time coming up with some. The only costs I can think of now are the material costs of the cameras.

    “And even it you had put forth some cursory analysis, my experience is that libertarians are just as philosophical as practical, if not more philosophical. Your utilitarian argument will always be suspect in the eyes of many libertarians.”

    Well, all the worse for them. You see, with abstract philosophical theorizing, you can justify anything. While the living conditions of, say North Korea, Cuba, and the like are pointed out, such countires are defended on the basis of some Marxist dialectical philosophical mumbo jumbo. The only thing that really matters, are facts, and their evaluation.

    “libertarians, who are into economics, should appreciate this cost/benefit analysis.”

    “I don’t really know what this last phrase means, so I’m just going to say we should arrest everybody on Earth and watch the crime rate plunge.”

    You don’t know what this phrase means? Ever heard of law and economics? Ever read _Free To Choose_? Plenty of cost/benefit analysis there I say.

  43. Police seem to have hidden the footage in the Demenezes[sic] and Princess Di cases, but that doesn’t work too often.

    While some questions remain about the De Menezes shooting it is doubtful whether cameras can furnish much extra.

    As for the “Princess Di case”, besides footage of a drunk driver steering into a tunnel pillar at high speed what photographic evidence do you think there could be to add anything? I mean, really, do you think there’s tape of HM ERII ordering the hit?

  44. As a Brit living in London, the continual puffery that gets written about CCTV “improving safety” is a constant source of annoyance. They might provide a grainy video-trail for the police to look at after the aftermath of a grisly stabbing, but they certainly don’t prevent the incident in the first place.

    The recent convictions of some “tube gang” muggers is a case in point. (Here’s one link
    for reference)

    Every single place these animals worked had CCTV. The tube carriages, the buses, the trains, all have CCTV cameras on board. Did they prevent a single one of their crimes? Of course not. They’re passive devices that do nothing more than provide the victim with a souvenir of his assault.

    They might – sometimes – help with prosecutions after the fact but to say they help reduce crime is, at best, unproven and an excuse not to invest in more effective crime prevention.

  45. Radley Balko,

    How many of those cameras are privately owned; in shops etc.?

    Do private cameras count as “Nanny state” cameras?

    Sincere questions.

  46. Nevermind, I read the article you got your info from. Turns out most of the cameras are privately owned shop security cameras. Not so much ‘Nanny State’ as ‘Nanny Shopkeepers’. Perhaps you should mount a campaign to stop shopkeepers monitoring their premises.

  47. there are lots of advantages to installing CCTV cameras, and people will always be against the idea of being watched…even if you are a good person. Tell me, CCTV supporters, why is a normal kind person ALWAYS afraid of the police if it’s there to help you?

    I think that the police has proved us to be real assholes over the years and that’s why we don’t like them.

    Well, same thing with CCTV cameras…they just do not belong in our society because then we’ll have to live with the fear that the POLICE is watching us through those cameras…which is what is happening.

    1) police should stop funding terrorism and crime.
    2)get rid of ALL police officers and hire new ones…you’ll see a sudden change in atmosphere

    3)if you are against the war, then you should not pay taxes for supporting that war.

    4)understand and apply what I said at #3

    5)Always question the answers that were given to you… you were doing it as a child…do it again. Ask questions such as Why and what’s the purpose

  48. James, CCTV is not privately owned like my home surveillance cameras…CCTV is a whole network of interconnected Cameras that the police reviews.

    They see your wife and jerk off to her…that’s in some extreme cases cause British women are not that hot…but that’s not the point here.

    If they want to do this here in the USA or in Canada we will protest because this means taking money out of my pocket for a project I do NOT support.

    I am fed up of paying for projects I do not support. It should be simple…What percentage support War in Iraq? 12% ? ok then tax those guys not the other 88%. Same thing with CCTV…

    same thing with Pedophiles … if they REALLY wanted to catch them, they would go after sites such as lavalife.com and others where you can fake your information and so on…but you are not going to get my Internet records of what I wrote to my mistress or my mom or anyone for that matter…there is that such thing as Privacy you know?

    Do you?

  49. Michel Cot?,

    James, CCTV is not privately owned like my home surveillance cameras…CCTV is a whole network of interconnected Cameras that the police reviews.

    Not the 4.2 million cameras referenced by this article, I’m afraid. The vast majority are privately owned and in no way interconnected, so the police will only see them if they have the owner’s permission or a warrant to do so. In fact, the 4.2 million number is only a guesstimate made by counting the number of cameras in a small area of Putney in London and then extrapolating it to the whole United Kingdom, which I’m sure you can appreciate is not particularly accurate, as London is by far the most monitored area of the country. It’s worth noting that most of the cameras they used for this guesstimate were in shops, cafes, resataurants, bars etc, and therefore not monitored by the police.

  50. Oh, and here’s a link to substantiate my last post:

    The exact number of CCTV cameras in the UK is not known but a 2002 working paper by Michael McCahill and Clive Norris of UrbanEye[1], based on a small sample in Putney High Street, “guesstimated” the number of surveillance cameras in private premises in London is around 400,000 and the total number of cameras in the UK is around 4,000,000.- source

    I’m sure there’s a great argument against CCTV cameras out there, but I found this article rather weak. The cameras aren’t interconnected and are mostly located on private premises. Perhaps Radley Balko should do a little research before putting finger to keyboard in future.

  51. Joe User : I am from Chicago and the surveillance cameras has contributed to a reduction of crime. The benefits outweigh the costs; libertarians, who are into economics, should appreciate this cost/benefit analysis.

    Libertarians believe in eliminating taxes (like Republicans) and removing government control of our personal lives (like Democrats). As democracies go, London is a Libertarian’s worst nightmare.

  52. “”Do private cameras count as “Nanny state” cameras?”””

    That is a good question. Sure, at a quick glance you could quickly chalk it up to nanny shopkeeper. That brings me to this question. Are nanny shopkeepers acting as agents of the nanny state when they hand over video tape with a judge’s order?

  53. Oooopps, I’m glad this is an older thread.

    The above should have said
    …without a judge’s order?

  54. there are lots of advantages to installing CCTV cameras, and people will always be against the idea of being watched…even if you are a good person.

    Well, for one thing, there’s this funny little Constitutional concern we Americans have about the government conducting warrantless surveillance of the citizenry. Or don’t you recall that flap about the NSA tracking terrorist phone calls into the US? Can’t have it both ways (unless you’re a dhimmicrat).

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