Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Monday, May 03, 2010

This Can Be Done Privately

According to Stewart Baker of the Volokh Conspiracy:

New York has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on street cameras. The lower Manhattan camera project was expected to cost $90 million and to network 3,000 cameras. That’s $30,000 per camera. The project is being expanded to midtown at a similar cost.

Despite all this funding, though, we don’t have pictures of the wannabe bomber. That’s probably because NYC hasn’t finished installing the midtown system.

But there’s another problem; 3,000 cameras aren’t really enough to take pictures all across lower Manhattan, if what you want is a record of everything that happens for later investigation. Inevitably, there are lots of blind spots in the system, at the same time that it costs an arm and a leg for each camera, which creates an incentive not to put cameras in low-risk areas.

On the other hand, MSNBC reports:

Police investigating a failed car bomb left in Times Square have videotape of a possible suspect shedding clothing in an alley and putting it in a bag, Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Sunday.

The surveillance video shows a white man in his 40s taking off one shirt, revealing another underneath.

Kelly said officers were on their way to a Pennsylvania town to talk to a tourist who also might have recorded the suspect on his video camera.

It looks like we don't need a vast expansion of government. Even the surveillance video could have been taken by a privately-owned camera.


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