Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do Laws Against Video Recording of Public Servants Like Police Violate Our Rights

I enjoy adding new concepts and new knowledge to what I know. My background in French prompts me to want to scream that the second 's' in sousveillance, 'sous', pronounced like the given name Sue, being the opposite of the French 'sur' for above or over. But far more significant, and something that was otherwise below my personal radar was the notion that we cannot, in some places, preserve a record of events involving authority.

I had always been taught that you could legally and properly video anyone in a public place for personal use. That rule of thumb is clearly changing, but I doubt most of us have been aware of that change.  I believe this is a change we should all oppose.

The events in Arab spring were in large part triggered by this kind of video going viral, beginning with the social media.  It has also been a huge part of the response which grew the Occupy Wall Street protests from a few people to so many, after the videotaping of what many consider a police abuse of power.

Arguably our holding our authority organizations, and we might add to that would-be authorities, like political candidates making speeches to otherwise private gatherings, would be examples of very useful and necessary and important use of this technology.

I would even go so far as to advocate that the use of this technology is MORE important to our citizens being free in this country than firearms are. (Hey, I felt I had to get the tie in to our usual topic somehow, and this seemed a legitimate observation.)

What say you, readers?

From the Dylan Ratigan show,


  1. It really isn't much of a surprise that Obama's corrupt state is one where the public officials don't want transparency and want to shield their corruption, illegal activity, and heinous crimes from being recorded. The entire state is a cloaca of criminal and corrupt activity by its public officials.

  2. Ah, silly and ill-informed ideolog-afflicted anonymous...that is untrue.

    The states where there are attempts to pass such laws, like MN, IA and FL for example, it was the Republicans who were trying to ban that. Not liberals, not democrats, not Obama.

  3. The state mentioned in the clip was Illinois. Are you gonna tell me that that isn't Obama's state and it isn't controlled by Democrats and corrupt politicians and public servants in general. Or, are trying to make this into a political issue? Perhaps you really don't give a crap about the actual issue.

  4. Anonymous, I think this IS a political issue, regardless of what I try to do.

    This is being opposed in IL by the ACLU.

    Illinois is not uniquely controlled by the Obama administration; if you are claiming corruption, then you might want to acknowledge that they are split, one senator is a democrat, one is a republican. They have 11 REPUBLICAN members of congress, and only 8 Democratic members of congress.

    I don't know what the exact state legislature breakdown is; I do know that Republicans gained ground in IL, so any Democratic majority is relatively small. The governor is a democrat.

    But I don't know at this point that it was any democrat who proposed this or got it through their state legislative process. It surprised me,frankly. I'm still reading up on how this legislation came to be proposed.

    However, I did enough research before writing this to learn that it is a consistently conservative effort to get other legislation passed against recordings, notably the efforts to ban recording of mistreatment of animals in big Ag farms, like the one that preceded a mass recall of eggs for salmonella, and the more recent one which resulted in a big Ag company losing a contract with McDonalds and Target, and resulted as well in an Ag Department investigation.

    So, it would seem to me that YOU are the one who made this about partisan politics, not me. So far as I have been able to document so far, the attempts to shut down grass roots political activity, including authority abuse, is more right than left.

    And yes, the issue concerns me; that was why I wrote about it.

    Seems to me that it is the right that is hellbent on destroying our freedom - of assembly,of speech, of religion, and of the right to vote.

  5. Private citizens and private property perhaps deserve some limits as to what of them can be filmed, but anyone working in an official capacity as a government agent is an employee of the people and should have no privacy while on government business.

    I, too, am concerned at the disregard for our many rights, but then I see rights as natural, not given to us by our government.

    (You couldn't resist, and neither could I.)

  6. Let me put this as plainly as I can, I don't give a crap who is proposing what, the idea of prohibiting taping of public officials, especially cops, is bullshit!

  7. "Do Laws Against Video Recording of Public Servants Like Police Violate Our Rights".

    Yes, unequivocally.

  8. Doggone, you may be right about states like MN, IA and FL trying to pass such laws--I don't know.

    But it is true that the two states that I know of that will put you in jail for a seriously long time for it are Illinois and Maryland--two Democratic controlled states.

    "Yes, unequivocally."


  9. I looked at the stats in Illinois; it is NOT a democratic state; rather it is considered a swing state that is mixed, a so-called purple state which sometimes goes Republican,sometimes Democrat.

    Maryland is certainly more Democratic than Illinois. But that doesn't mean that it was Democrats who initiated these laws. I also don't know when they went into effect. The current Governor of MD is a Democrat, but the previous Governor was a Republican. And there were a couple of Republican governors preceding the current governor, who of course replaced Blagojevich.

    I'm frankly rather surprised these laws have passed without more opposition. I plan to look into how they were presented as being a good idea sufficient to get voted through and signed. I suspect that the legislation was sandwiched in between unrelated items, but we'll see.

    This map of purple states from wikipedia, purple states (versus red or blue states) being defined as neither party having a strong majority.

  10. dog gone:

    I think that you are a bit naive about the way that legislators/legislatures work. Most voters are either single issue or partyline voters. They vote for the person who says that they will do whatever thing it is that THEY want done. Or they vote for the person that they have been told by their party's bosses is the "good" choice. After that, unless their pet ox is gored, they give no thought to what their elected representatives do. They do of course, reserve the right to complain bitterly about "those fucking politicians who don't do what we elected 'em for!".

    The solution is for people to stop watching endless hours of television and escapist films AND to remove their earbuds, read some genuine news and figure out wtf is really going on at the local, state and national levels re: this issue and others.

    Sorry, there's a marathon of "Funniest Home Videos of Biggest Losers on American Idol Who Think They Can Dance". Gotta run!

  11. "The solution is for people to stop watching endless hours of television and escapist films AND to remove their earbuds, read some genuine news and figure out wtf is really going on at the local, state and national levels re: this issue and others."

    I hate agreeing with Demo. Especially twice in one thread. But he is on the money with this one.

  12. Illinois as a state, NOT COUNTIES, is a BLUE STATE.

    The only purple STATES on that map are NV, OH, & FL. Yet, you go to such extreme measures to make this issue political and make the Democrats look like some sort of civil libertarians, which they are not.
    Like their friends on the other side of the aisle, they are a bunch of warmongering, liberty hating pigs.

  13. Anonypaultard:

    If all politicians are the same, then how is that you guyz keep complaining about politics?

  14. since you like wikipedia so much, you should read more of it.

    See also: Political party strength in Illinois
    [edit] Party balance

    Historically, Illinois was long a major swing state, with near-parity existing between the Republican and the Democratic parties. However, in recent elections, the Democratic Party has slowly gained ground, and Illinois has come to be seen as more of a "blue" state.[90][91] ...

    Republicans continue to prevail in rural northern and central Illinois; Republican support is strong in southern Illinois outside of the East St. Louis metropolitan area.

    I would also refer you to this separate article : political party strength in IL

    ALL of which I read before suggesting the map gave the best summary of the politics.

    YOU, on the other hand, Anonymous, tried to tie this to Obama without a clue if that was fair or factual, or apparently any factual basis for understanding IL politics either.

    So, please - if anyone is making this be about politics, it is you taking that swipe at Obama corruption in IL. A quick peruse of the section ON corruption in wikipedia makes it pretty clear that there have been more than a few Republicans involved in corruption as well.

    Lets see you provide some factual sources for THIS legislation in IL that supports this being corrupt Democratic politics. I haven't found any yet, but I'm still looking. Whichever party it is that is behind this - if it IS a single party - I plan to be critical of it.

    But UNLIKE you Anonymous, I will do so from a factual basis, and back it up here with those facts.

  15. Anyone that doesn't know IL politics, both parties, is about as corrupt as you can get has been living under a rock.

    About 80% of the population lives north of I-80 and the center of that area of the state is Chicago. The last Republican mayor of Chicago was in about 1930. That would leave one to believe that it is a Democratic area.

    I lived in Chicago and my sister worked for the mayor in his office during the original Daley Machine days. Now, if anyone thinks that corrupt politics has improved in that state, in that city, or in that area, I have beachfront property to sell you in Arizona.

    But, I'll repeat, I don't care who instigated this obscene policy of preventing citizens from taping cops, it is a travesty against the people and justice.

  16. Wait a minute. Are we all in agreement?????

  17. Mikeb302000,

    On the point of whether we have the right to film the police, I suspect that most readers here are in agreement with you.

  18. Dear Mike B:
    mikeb302000 said...

    Wait a minute. Are we all in agreement?????

    I'm hoping if this came from your computer, that means you were sitting down.

    Because I'd hate you to fall over from the shock.

    Yup, I think we are all in agreement.

    This is one of the most interesting stories I've found to write about in a long time.