When We’re Big Brother

There are many things I’m not a fan of including the surveillance state. Apparently Ramsey County thinks differently than me since they now have a new service available via their web page. Yes by going to Ramsey County’s Web Cop page you can gain access to cameras dispersed throughout Ramsey Country:

We need your help. Join our “Neighborhood eWatch” and help prevent crime by reporting any suspicious activity you observe on one of our cameras. Log into the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office “Web Cop – View Commander Software” to view 10 of our wireless surveillance cameras. To enter the site click here. When prompted, enter the following:

Username: public
Password: public

If you witness suspicious activity, call the East Metro Real-Time Information Center (EMRIC) at 651-266-9450, where analysts are able to pan, tilt and zoom the cameras to get a better look at the incident.

If you see a crime in progress, call 911 immediately and ask for Ramsey County Dispatch.

Thank you for helping to make our community a safer place.

So Ramsey County is now trying to get average people to be Big Brother in their place. Beyond the obvious surveillance state implications here there is another problem with this system. Ramsey County is essentially relying on amateurs to be a front-line security force. Bruce Schneier did a nice write up explaining why relying on amateurs for front-line security will only nab you amateur results. In other words all the money spent on this setup will be meaningless because the police will most likely receive more false positives than useful reports of crime.

With that said there is one useful feature on this site, the crime reports. They post up reports on crimes that have occurred in Ramsey County and do a glorious job of justifying why you should get a carry permit and have a firearm on you as often as possible.

One thought on “When We’re Big Brother”

  1. If it “looks illegal”, report it to the police, who will then have to have a dedicated team of operators to man the cameras and respond to the phone calls.

    *twitch* 1984 and flagrant government waste, all rolled up into one cute little “for your own good” package – an authoritarian’s wet dream.

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