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Everybody knows CCTVs can see what most of us can’t. Despite having cameras at chowks, the authorities aren’t running them because transparency may hurt them
Posted On Friday, March 05, 2010 at 12:46:37 AM
On your mobile phone, television, Internet sites like YouTube, Flickr and Picassa and in newspapers; still pictures and moving films, creating an overload on your memory.
Because of this, you do not forget the airplane crash of the Indian Navy, blast in a bakery, vandalism of an ATM or burglary in a Gurudwara or Ajmal Kasab at the CST station.
They don’t let you forget how planes turned into missiles on 9/11 and changed New York’s skyline. It keeps stings which lead to serious impacts fresh. It also reminds you how Sachin Tendulkar waved his bat after scoring that double century in Gwalior.
Cameras help us register what can be seen, again. They have the power of rewind, and that helps us make sense of events. Let it sink under our skin. They don’t leave much room for imagination.
You get to capture the reality of the moment. You don’t have to remember everything — whatever is relevant is recorded.
If you go to relatively crime-free western countries, there may not be many public places which are not covered by CCTVs. This not only helps in policing everything under the sun, or intrude into everyone’s affairs, but also turns out smart evidence when something happens.
Consider the murder of the Hamas leader in a Dubai hotel. Just because of cameras everything can be easily reconstructed.
We don’t have enough people to police the city or man the traffic, or enough people to monitor the nuisance in public places. Pune is growing faster than the state and the local governance can handle. Buildings higher than the maximum reach of fire tenders are coming up.
Now, when the city also offers soft targets for terrorism, far more people have to come under the scanner for verification of their credentials.
Even if you get the required number of people, you can’t actually be sure of their efficiency, commitment and motivation levels. Moreover, they will be missing in action on their weekly offs and during sick leaves.
If cameras are everywhere in the city, they can catch people breaking rules or doing horrible things. This would obviously make the work of the police and the administration easier in so many different ways.
Please keep wondering why Pune’s administration won’t use CCTV cameras. After having spent a great sum of money in procuring and installing them, isn’t it strange that no one so far has used it to haul up culprits? The Pune Municipal Corporation and the traffic police are yet to figure out how to punish the guilty.
Why this extraordinary delay in getting the cameras do their job? Is it sheer laziness (which is surprising because it is going to make someone’s job easier)? Is it a problem of technical unease, which comes when we transit from a manual way to mechanised way of handling things?
There can be other problems. Cameras will capture everything. They will make it transparent. They would see what one did or did not do on duty. They would capture negotiations before a bribe.
You’ll not be able to delete the footage when a VIP breaks the line and traffic rules.
Cameras will not allow you to change the story, the version and the timeline so that the reality is tampered with. Cameras will not forget and, hence, nothing will be forgiven. That may be a problem.
Out of the aforementioned reasons, which according to you is the most compelling reason for CCTV inaction? Who is it helping the most? Who is benefitting out of this non-functional investment? Whose ‘privacy’ we do not want to disturb?
Meanwhile, I am sure police officers are promptly at it. And so is the PMC. Like the German Bakery blast investigations, and the murder probe of RTI activist Satish Shetty, there will soon be action. That is if you believe them.
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