On more than one occasion in this week I have had pause to wonder why we are surrounded by so much electronic security and yet afforded so little protection.
Between mobile phone thefts and mobility scooter madness you would think that the ever present eye of Sussex Police CCTV and privately owned retail CCTV would provide a benefit to the public by way of social insight and accountability then again it may be that I expect too much.
We have our own social warning systems through which to place ourselves on alert by way of text messages, phone calls or Facebook posts.
Informing each other of accidents, road closures, service disruption or mobile phone thefts. The communication flows well when it runs from the individual out and up towards the crowd but when it needs to be delivered from the group to the victim it seems to stagnate as voices are raised that such information leads to lynch mob mentality.
What then are we left with as phones are lifted from tabletops under the watchful gaze of security cameras and scooters race down pavements?
Is no one is willing to put their foot down? Given our council’s propensity to seek a fair paying taxation system maybe we should expect to see an opt-in system for those who want legal action to be taken in light of these events.
Quite possibly a fence around the town charging for entry and using the money to pay for extra security guards, speedbumps on West Street, a Taser in every till and immobilizing sprays set off in the event of shoplifter activity.
This is a pretty dystopian future that would possibly give Charlie Brooker a reason to shudder though it is not the inevitable outcome of our society’s race towards privacy, consumerism and ownership.
Taking a step back from that nightmare the fact that we are able to speak openly and share our concerns and our information with ease is the very underpinning of a healthy society.
The number of cameras and video recording capable devices in use today outnumbers CCTV they will soon outnumber people on the planet.
We are with very little effort able to electronically observe and broadcast each other’s activities to an equally voyeuristic crowd but if we cannot find a way to use these tools to change societal behaviour then we might find them regulated beyond our grasp.