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Rated: E · Column · Experience · #2041581
Little Brother now joins Big Brother for watchful eyes.
As a person in their 50's I have grown up hearing the term Big Brother. And not the CBS tv show about a bunch a layabouts lying on couches and beds for our viewing pleasure. But specifically the idea from George Orwell's book, 1984. From it I have lived with the ideas of an eye on our lives as large as a government could use. Knowing all our moves throughout our daily lives. Most times this seemed more of a fear than a reality. As time passed we have seen that our US government will surveil anyone at any time and have no consequence befall them. After 9/11 and the soon to be passed Patriot Act we found from Eric Snowden's leaked information that the NSA (National Security Agency) has been spending recent years gathering all your phone usage data. Who you called. When you called them. So now we know Big Brother is no longer just an idea.

As technology advances and companies are allowed to monopolize and single-handedly control items we use daily like the internet we are now entering a private sector use of Big Brother. Google remembers if you looked at a pair of shorts on a website and in the following weeks when you read articles you will see ads for these same shorts hovering about you on the left, right and sometimes on top of the article you are trying to finish. It seems as though we are in a place without recourse. But that is showing not to be the total picture anymore.

In 1991 I remember the video footage of L.A. Police Officers caught on tape beating Rodney King. It struck me that the revelation came from a bystander with a video camera. Not many people generally walk around with this type of equipment so catching these types of brutal acts seemed limited at best. I distinctly remember thinking this was the opposite of what Orwell had in mind. Little Brother had shown itself for the first time in my eyes.

Now jumping 20 years we are no longer in need of bulky camcorders to allow us to fight back as Little Brothers. An NYPD Detective recently was recorded relentlessly screaming at an Uber driver. Insulting his ethnicity among other disgusting epitaphs all the while being completely oblivious that a phone was feet away recording all his hate-laced commentary. Reports of this detective acting in this manner had been filed for years but until this compelling video evidence appeared all was ignored until now. Then the most chilling use of Little Brother saved a man's reputation but could not save his life. The North Charleston Police Department initially reported Walter Scott ran from a traffic stop, gained control of the officer's taser and in the end the officer was forced to shoot him. The report later stated the officer who arrived on the scene performed CPR on Mr. Scott with no success and the suspect died. Only his name was accurately portrayed in the initial police report. Cell phone video footage showed a cowardice act behind a badge. A murder by all visual accounts. No CPR performed by anyone. But the officers made sure to handcuff Mr.Scott's dead body.

Without such assistance we would have probably never have seen cell phone footage taken by a bystander that showed a crippled Freddie Gray being drug to a police van. In 2014 The Baltimore Sun reported on millions of dollars being paid due to similar police brutality against its citizens. Would these six officers who were eventually arrested received any punishment without this video? The evidence so far says no if this type of expose can't change the course of these types of brutal treatment.

I am not sure where this technology will lead us in the end. Having everything we do potentially video taped is a bit frightening. But without Little Brother as a new voice for the masses I can't imagine where Walter Scott's family would be with North Charleston's initial police report or how the Baltimore Police Department would have portrayed Freddie Gray without the help of Little Brother. I would like to beleive that the majority of police officers are noble individuals working hard to protect us daily. But given the deaths accompanied with video evidence it seems that police body cameras might help protect us all and thin out the murderers who do our honorable officers a disservice to their great work. One can only hope for better practices.


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