Boston Marathon Bombing

Authorities Crowdsource Surveillance of Boston Bombing Scene

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Reason 24/7
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Forget the surveillance state! In a world of lens-studded mobile devices, you are the panopticon. That's why, in their efforts to reconstruct just what happened at the Boston Marathon, and who was responsible for the bombing, police have turned to the videos and still photos gathered by those who were present before, during and after the explosions that caused so much bloodshed. In a sign of just how new a development this is, Boston authorities have requested that people share with them whatever images they captured, but haven't made clear how that is to be done.

Given that pre-installed cameras are often outnumbered by shutterbugs at the scene of major events, you can probably expect that this is a taste of the future. Hopefully, searches for such images will continue to be framed as requests, and not demands.

From CNet:

Law enforcement officials could have something very different on their hands as they investigate the dual bomb blasts that struck the Boston Marathon finish line today: a potential abundance of photo and video evidence from the public.

Government surveillance, while growing, still misses more than it catches. But events with thousands of spectators offer the potential for a detailed crowdsourced record of what happened.

This public panopticon is changing how we see the world. February's Russian meteor was captured by many dash-cams mounted in Russian cars, but in this case the event is of profound interest to law enforcement officials, not just scientists.

The Boston Police Department has begun requesting records about the explosions, which killed two people and injured dozens.

"Boston Police looking for video of the finish line," said Cheryl Fiandaca, chief of the department's public information bureau. However, in a sign of the difficulties of such work, the Boston city government's Web site was unresponsive today after the blast.

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  1. Boston authorities have requested that people share with them whatever images they captured, but haven’t made clear how that is to be done.

    If only there were some sort of infrastructure in place to share photos and videos from remote locations by electronic or “cyber” means.

  2. Whoa, whoa, wait a minute.

    When did the font change here? This is weird.

    1. So I’m not alone.

      THIS FONT MADNESS MUST NOT STAND!!!

    2. Probably because the reason staff is advancing in age. They had to do something so they could read the comments better.

    3. That’s a dangerous, pre-4/15 mindset.

  3. Hopefully, searches for such images will continue to be framed as requests, and not demands.

    Anyone who doesn’t voluntarily meet this demand will be considered a person of interest.

    1. they won’t need you to comply. They have AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, TMobile etc. ready to provide remote access to all mobile devices at any time, no warrant required.

  4. Boston authorities have requested that people share with them whatever images they captured, but haven’t made clear how that is to be done.

    I suspect there are people out there who sincerely believe a 3-D walkaround virtual reality holodeck version of events will arise spontaneously from the submitted imagery. And that it will be possible to zoom in on any face or object, as if those phone cams have infinite resolution.

    Hopefully, in actuality, it might be possible to work backwards from the point of explosion and find some useful tidbit of evidence.

    1. Well, if you were interested in being part of the solution instead of part of the problem, you would get busy “enhancing” some of that footage so that the authorities can nab the baddies.

    2. enhance…

      …enhance…

      …enhance…

    3. And you think DHS doesn’t have a computer that can do that already?

  5. Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and Reason articles. You can get the widgets here.

    Will we be able to comment on articles with the relative ease we can on a desktop or laptop?

    1. The widgets feed headlines that link through to Reason’s site, so … yes!

    2. Can my blog post links to the stories, then have future blog posts link to my “original” blog posts to increase my search engine rankings?

  6. if you were interested in being part of the solution instead of part of the problem

    You must be new.

  7. I’m sure the wireless carriers will gladly give the cops the names of everyone who had a phone in the general vicinity so they can all be contacted individually by the police.

    1. Why contact them? Just serve up the digital contents of their phone while they’re asleep.

  8. uptil I looked at the check saying $9327, I did not believe …that…my sister could realie receiving money in their spare time at their laptop.. there neighbor has been doing this 4 less than nineteen months and resently cleared the debts on their apartment and bourt themselves a volvo. read more at,
    http://www.big76.com

  9. Not to support the surveillance state, but they might have to try to find days old video of the scene to see if anybody was staking it out to find an appropriate containers in which to place the bombs.

  10. Hopefully, searches for such images will continue to be framed as requests, and not demands.

    That’ll probably depend on how useful/ successful this effort is in helping with the investigation. If it turns out to really help, then I could see in the future the authoritays saying “Hey, that worked really well after the Boston Marathon attack, let’s require all bystanders to hand over any photos or videos of the event.”

  11. NPR framed this request as “how serious” law enforcement is in catching the perpetrators. I heard it as “law enforcement is thus far, completely empty handed… so please, send us whatever you have… anything.”

  12. I think we all know there is a photo out there of a turbanned ay-rab riding a camel right down the middle of the street, flinging satchel bombs while yodeling Allah Akbarooo! which will blow the lid off this case. The dominoes will fall into place and that bird will row the boat to shore.

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