Sunday, July 24, 2011

Where Big Brother ISN'T watching you...

Contrary to what the fearmongers might try to make us think, Big Brother isn't watching us all the time, and sometimes that isn't a good thing. Personally I don't really have a problem with video surveillance, I figure that save but inside my house anyone could be watching me at any time, and if they are watching me, they could be taping me, not much I can do about it, so no sense worrying about my theoretic loss of privacy.
The Forks, Big Brother was a no show
 What worries me I think, is the places that people aren't watching me. A few weeks ago I was at The Forks (not the day I came up with my quasi-brilliant idea on how to increase transit usage), to have dinner with a friend and managed to grab the last parking spot in the little "close" lot. It was weird, because I generally have the gift of finding rock-star parking and this spot was less than stellar - the cars on either side of the spot were partially infringing on it and it was waaaaaay back by Sugar Mountain.  But I thought, hey, I have a small car, I'll fit. And I did. Fully between the lines. And this is what I came back to, and a door ding.

Now, hoping the karma really would be a bitch, I went straight to the security office at The Forks (actually, first I went to Sugar Mountain because I thought they would have the best footage if they had a camera) to get the license plate number of Ms. Silver Jeep  (if this was written by a man I am even further disturbed) from their video surveillance so that I could head to Autopac and report the hit and run.

*Now, before I go on, let me re-iterate, I was between the freaking lines! Yes, I did indeed pull into a spot that it was going to make it difficult for the driver/passengers of the vehicles on either side to get back in, but I was fully and completely between the lines, which in the world of parking lot etiquitte, is how it works. They paint lines on the ground and you park between them. I didn't invent the system, that's just how it is. No one forced them to park like idiots. If she hadn't left the note I might not have even noticed it, in the grand scheme of things it wouldn't have been a door ding worth reporting otherwise*

So, it turns out, I wasn't going to get to explain karma to Ms. Silver Jeep (and seriously, how could she not realize that my car is a girl car, I mean, honestly, I have a "Little Miss Sunshine" air freshener!) because, believe it or not, The Forks does not have video surveillance, or at least none covering the parking lots (although I was led to believe there was none at all).  Now, you are sitting there thinking, that can't possibly be true!?! I mean, the place that we are all directed to go to, by the tens of thousands, surely must have some sort of way of archiving things should anything go wrong. I mean, when the Jets make it to the Stanley Cup this year (I'm an optimist) and tens of thousands of Winnipeggers gather at The Forks and the handful of fans from the opposing, losing, team try to start up some sort of brouhaha, are we going to have to rely on the video captured solely on the phones of those in attendance?

Now, Winnipeg most certainly does have some video surveillance, I mean, who hasn't seen the infamous "Guy pooping in the flower pot at Portage and Main" video? Now, of course, that is not at all the point of video surveillance; the putting of it on the internet I mean - obviously the point is to be able to see who the culprit of things like that is. We also have some CCTV cameras, I wasn't able to get a clear understanding if they are monitored in real-time or not, I don't think someone watching live video is the way to go personally, but being able to have that footage stored digitally seems like an invaluable resource.

So, I ask this, in today's day and age, why aren't there cameras at The Forks?
"Critics who say surveillance cameras are an unwarranted invasion of privacy should have a look around. Cameras have become an ubiquitous aspect of daily life in big cities around the world and it is virtually impossible to travel very far without coming under the watchful eye of a security camera." (from the Free Press article linked above)
I think this is an important issue and one that other people besides me need to bring this up. Take the time, send an email to the MayorThe Forks, and what the heck, why not tell the Police that you don't feel protected while you're at Winnipeg's most popular public place.

Oh, and maybe they could put a camera up at my corner too - "The Wolseley Project" got a little trampled the other day and I'd like to confirm my suspicions about the culprit and getting the plate numbers of guys trawling for h00kers wouldn't be so bad either.

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