Thinking about Security Cameras

UPDATE: Well, this little post seems to have generated a response. It’s been great to see the comments, some of it positive, and quite a bit of it informed dissent. The debate has been great, but a matter has come to my attention that I feel I must address. While it wasn’t clear in the small photo of the cheesy sports car I included in the post, the location of the vehicle was clearly visible in the full version of the photo. Since the small group of regular readers of this blog do not live in the Boston area, I didn’t think to obscure the location. To the owner of the Mustang, I apologize. Your camera pisses me off, but I should have done more to protect your privacy. The photo has been edited.


Tonight I’m going to a Somerville town meeting to speak out against the installation of Homeland Security cameras in our fair city. These cameras represent a gross violation of our right to privacy, and giving into their presence without a fight will contribute to a Big Brother culture not only in Somerville, but in the rest of the country.

When I heard about the meeting, though, I got to thinking about other security cameras. Although I can see the point of having cameras at ATMs, I don’t like them. When I’m feeling prickly, I sometimes extend a friendly gesture. Same with cameras in stores. However, there’s one security camera in particular that really pisses me off. It’s this one:


I first noticed this camera a while back, and it really creeped me out. At first I had no idea why someone would train a camera on East Broadway. To catch people running away screaming from Taco Loco, having stolen some hot sauce? To gather material for some strange art project? To create a view on the world for some lonely shut-in?

Gradually it dawned on me that the ever-present camera was trained on this car:


Seriously. It’s a Mustang. Sure, it’s not exactly an economy car, but it’s not like the guy’s protecting a Lamborghini or something. Is it really worth it to constantly film the sidewalk, hoping to catch some whipper-snapper keying it? If the person didn’t think the neighborhood was good enough for the car, the person shouldn’t have moved here.

Anyhow, I’m sure I’m not the only one extending a friendly gesture at the camera. Someday I would love to see a group get together and do a kick line in front of the building. Or maybe a team of videographers filming surveillance of the camera. Something to let that asshole know in no uncertain terms that that security camera is not welcome. We’re watching you, pal.

16 responses to “Thinking about Security Cameras

  1. yeah not cool Sassy not cool at all…….how did it go? Will you really be able to get rid of them?

  2. Oh, I dare you to do it…wouldn’t that be so fun?

  3. Manuel, the meeting revealed some very disturbing information. Also, on my way there, I happened to notice that one of the cameras is installed right around the corner from me. That camera could see right in my living room.

    Maria, if I can get some people together, we’ll be kicking.

  4. The seven security camera locations on the map that was distributed last night:

    – Davis Square (I’ve seen this one, it’s next to the traffic light at Highland and College aves)
    – Union Square (the Somerville Journal says it’s on the SCAT building)
    – Broadway and Cross streets (I haven’t looked for this one yet)
    – Highland Ave. and Walnut Street (I haven’t looked for this one yet)
    – Middlesex Ave (near Kensington St or maybe Cummings St? I haven’t looked for this one yet)
    – on a light pole at the entrance to the Linear Path just beyond Buena Vista Road
    – on a light pole on the Linear Path, just this side of the Cambridge city line

    I also see a camera on the back of the CVS building, next to Dover Street, but this is not on the city’s list. Is it privately owned, and if so, what is its purpose?

    Also, when I left City Hall last night, the police chief showed me another camera, mounted on the exterior wall of City Hall, just right of the entrance as you’re going in. This one is supposed to stop vandalism of the ‘Smart Cars’ in the parking lot.

  5. Ron, I know exactly where the one on Broadway is. I’m looking right at it. Will post more in a bit.


  6. how can you complain about a camera invading your privacy while taking a picture of the guys apartment window and car?

  7. Sonny, the guy’s taking pictures of me. Fair game.

  8. On second look, I see two cameras on the back of the Davis Square CVS/Boston Sports Club building. One is next to Dover Street, the other next to Day Street. Who put these up, and why?

  9. is he putting pictures of your car and apartment online?

  10. Ron, I’ll checkl it out.

    Sonny, seriously. Anyone doing something like that deserves to be exposed.

  11. The Google StreetView shows the same green Mustang.

  12. Also, Universal Hub has picked up this post and has its own comment thread about it.

  13. seriously, if you went online and found a picture of your car and a picture of your living room window on a blog what would you do? you already seem to be flipping out about a camera being in your neighborhood. think about it.

  14. Meh. It really doesn’t seem that bad to me. Cameras are everywhere. This one is just more obvious.

    If you found out the person’s car had been damaged or stolen while in this spot would that make it acceptable?

  15. I’m really not worried about anyone photographing public locations. Tourists have been doing it since they started carrying cameras. So he films the sidwalk, so what?

    I’m more concerned with the Government running cameras, for obvious 1984 reasons.

  16. Pingback: Are all Mustang owners this paranoid? : Somerville Blog

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