Traffic Light Cameras: An Orwellian Nightmare

Ok, a bit of a rant here…but bear with me. I think the implications are more important than we think.

One thing that shocks, maddens, and confuses me since I’ve arrived in the state of California is the camera placements at the traffic lights.

Did I just time warp into the book “1984??” What kind of sick, twisted totalitarian organization or government placed these things here? And even more importantly, why are we, as a society, tolerating this kind of oppressive control?

For those unaware of this horrible violation of freedom and privacy, this is basically how it works: In the event that you cross into no man’s land, and roll over a line that has been pre-determined, a sensor will trigger a camera to take a picture of your license plate. Your vehicle’s information will then be captured so the local authorities can send you a citation to force you to atone for your heinous crimes against society.

It’s not that I’m against law and order; not by a long shot. We need a shared set of rules and regulations that we collectively agree upon to keep us honest and hold us accountable. Any civilized society needs a similar system.

My issue is when governing bodies become too invasive, and cross the line of maintaining order into oppressing the population. It’s a very fine line, and it can be crossed quickly.

I think traffic cameras are horrible and invasive. I also feel they should not exist or be tolerated. Everyone I have talked (vented!) to shares the same feelings. So my next logical question is: Why do we tolerate it?

Ben Franklin was famously quoted as saying, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Well said, Ben.

So perhaps, the onus is on us. Perhaps we shouldn’t merely tolerate these progressively more invasive “security” measures. Maybe we shouldn’t merely complain about it to our friends and co-workers, but we should become proactive in our participation in our communities and our own lives.

I fear the cameras may be inside our computers and TV’s soon.

Perhaps they already are.

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