During the Republican Convention the beleaguered city of Tampa was blanketed with over sixty cameras to watch the rioters, radicals and anarchist whom the city was certain were planning our destruction, but the mischief makers never materialized. Fear not, as long as the humidity is above eighty percent our city will remain safe from saboteurs. Instead of the massive arrests the city prepared for, alas only two protestors were thrown into jail and even those two arrests seemed two too many for your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer who once thought Americans were born with the right to protest.
|Vermeer, Camera Obscura Proof?|
But what to do with the all those fancy video cameras? Our right to privacy demands that Tampa take the Government video cameras down. The Government should not be conducting video surveillance on its citizens without probable cause of wrongdoing. This is especially true in Tampa Bay because of prior law enforcement overzealous surveillance in Florida in which citizens shopping at a store were later subjected to unlawful searches with Deputies gaining entry into homes by posing as utility workers and Deputies using fake subpoenas.
Here’s an excerpt from today’s editorial from the Tampa Bay Times that balances the right of privacy versus the need for public safety exactly right:
Law-abiding residents in public spaces should not be subject to around-the-clock surveillance by their local government… While (the Mayor of Tampa) is open to moving some cameras out of downtown and into high-crime areas, the mayor argued the devices are “valuable tools” in fostering the sense of security that would make downtown a more attractive place to visit and do business. People have grown accustomed to cameras, he said, and shutting them off would be a “colossal waste.”…
The city has an obligation, especially after fanning the fears of convention-related violence, to balance public safety with civil liberties. Walking downtown or visiting Curtis Hixon Park is not consent for a digital search…fight these government eyes in the sky.