June 29 - National Camera Day

Posted on June 29, 2020

Now that so many humans are walking around with amazingly excellent cameras in their hand, pocket, or bag at all times, and now that so many of us can share our photos so easily and so far and so wide...

Well, our lives have changed in some amazing and scary and beautiful and important ways!

Let's think about a few of them:

Many of us enjoy "traveling" vicariously. I am super-duper unlikely to ever see China's Rainbow Mountains or Turkey's Pamukkale Terraces in person, but I love seeing photos of these amazing places!

Because so many of us have our phones-with-cameras with us at all times, we are ready to take pictures and videos of the unexpected moments of life, the teensy beauties of nature, and the adorable reactions of kids.

I mentioned that we, the people, have so many cameras ready at hand (via our cell phones), but businesses and governments also have a lot more cameras. From street cams to body cams on police, security cameras on everything from residential houses to bank ATMs to stores and corporate office buildings and and and...

So those of us who live in cities are all being filmed, all the time, and that can lead to preventing crime, finding and punishing criminals, holding accountable people who run red lights, and providing evidence about police interactions that went bad.

BUT there are also all kinds of scary things about so many cameras being trained on us. With facial recognition software and loads of street cams, security cams, all-sorts-of cams everywhere, our privacy has been eroded, and organizations that have bad intentions can much more easily target us or even frame us. Facial recognition sometimes identifies the WRONG person, and yet the supposedly objective information might persuade police and judges and juries and make innocent people face imprisonment. (And that already happens far too often!)

Not only does facial recognition sometimes identify the
WRONG person, it fails with women and people of color
way more often than it does with white men. So wrongful
arrests and other incorrect identifications are much more
likely to happen to people who already have less power
 in society - and injustices will lead to MORE injustices.
On the other hand, all of our phone cameras really, really help to capture photos and videos of those in power abusing their power. A white person who wastes taxpayer dollars and police officers' time by calling 911 because a black person is doing such nefarious activities as bird watching, barbecuing, or sleeping - well, we can film the racist harassment and use that film to protect the innocent and hopefully shame the racist. Even more important, victims and bystanders filming officers who are using too much force or actually murdering citizens has turned out to be very important to start the movement toward policing the police!

As Will Smith tweeted, racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed!

No comments:

Post a Comment