A recent sensational story in the New York Times, documenting how many of the innocuous-looking sensors, appearing, in recent years in public restrooms…actually contain video surveillance cameras…has touched off a flurry of debate on capitol hill.
The government has claimed that it is necessary to monitor restrooms, because it is a convenient place for terrorists to discreetly place bombs in their shoes, and other hidden locations on their bodies. Terrorists, it is argued, know that there are surveillance cameras everywhere else, so they will seek the privacy of restrooms to hide their weopons and bombs.
The government has given us their assurance, that they are not interested in spying on ordinary citizens, and will only take note of people who look extremely suspicious and dangerous.
A poll earlier this week, shows that Americans are split in their opinions on whether the Government should be allowed to place video cameras in restrooms. 63% of those polled in a recent Los Angeles Times survey, said that they thought it was ok, if it helps the government intercept terrorists.
87% of Republican respondents believe it is ok, if it helps catch Democrats with their pants down.
In an Age of electronic surveillance, there is an increasing debate about the limits to which the government should be alllowed to engage in surveillance, without overview, or accountability.
When George Orwell's book, ‘1984', was first published, it shocked the public to think that someday the government would be able monitor all of our conversations and activities. However, in the 21st Century, it is generally conceded, that we are all better off if Big Brother has the ability to monitor all of the details of our everyday lives.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights are generally viewed as irrelevant documents of a bygone age. Slavery is generally seen as rather comforting, because Big Brother will take care of us, and far better than being hunted by a shadowy network of terrorists who might be lurking behind the water cooler, or under our beds.
It is generally argued, that computers are so good at making decisions, that the public should relinquish their role in making decisions about their future, and let the technocracy, run by government decision makers, decide everything.
Editors note: Evan Essence recieved his Masters Degree in Journalism (2003), and his PhD in Political Science (2004) from House-of-Spam Internet Marketing