Among them was Alexander Dunlop, who said he was arrested while going to pick up sushi. Last week, he discovered that there were two versions of the same police tape: the one that was to be used as evidence in his trial had been edited at two spots, removing images that showed Mr. Dunlop behaving peacefully. When a volunteer film archivist found a more complete version of the tape and gave it to Mr. Dunlop's lawyer, prosecutors immediately dropped the charges and said that a technician had cut the material by mistake.I remember, while I was living in New York, hearing about Bill Brown and his walking tour of Manhattan's surveillance cameras. I have certainly known people who see all cameras as a possible extension of Big Brother. In the hands of a hostile state, tape that you cannot get equal access to (i.e. surveillance tape) clearly has the potential to be edited in a damaging way, as in the case of Mr. Dunlop above. Consider I-Witness video (for which I cannot yet find a website, though it seems to be founded by one Sarah Scully) , an organization that the Times cites thusly:
"The police develop a narrative, the defendant has a different story, and the question becomes, how do you resolve it?" said Eileen Clancy, a member of I-Witness Video, a project that assembled hundreds of videotapes shot during the convention by volunteers for use by defense lawyers.So instead of Big Brother trying to get you, we potentially have lots of little sisters (and brothers) watching your back. Video from multiple viewpoints, unedited and accessible, seems much more likely to be a tool of truth, and less likely to be a tool of oppression. So if you really did nothing wrong, you're actually in better shape with more citizen witnesses. The problem, of course, is one of search:
Video is a useful source of evidence, but not an easy one to manage, because of the difficulties in finding a fleeting image in hundreds of hours of tape. Moreover, many of the tapes lack index and time markings, so cuts in the tape are not immediately apparent.I find myself, once again, longing for true image search as opposed to tag search. [Saheli looks hopefully in the direction of Mountain View.] Audio search, as expertly done by these folks, is less likely to be helpful in these cases, since protests are not exactly bastions of good sound engineering. In the mean time good information organization and volunteer efforts, much like the ones that build open source software, are probably key, providing tags that can be searched by something like Google. So I hope to find that website sooner rather than later.
Spring 2006: Guest Bloggers!
Rishi | Scott | Emily
Echan | Robert | ToastyKen