A public eye for security

Today’s online Wall Street Journal has this piece about how a youth set up a webcam to watch over a sign that he put up for Barack Obama’s campaign (He feared that the sign would be stolen, although the real threat is about the election itself being stolen from Mr. Obama).

The youth’s webcam that streamed on a tv site quickly acquired a huge following across the globe, in effect providing an army of watchers for a small sign somewhere in the United States. The episode has an interesting ending, but in true McLuhanese, the medium is the message here.

Does it open for us the prospect of using small, inexpensive webcams to watch over our public places. If prominent streets (and we must emphasise that we are talking only of public places, not private areas), and sidewalks could be watched similarly by password-enabled volunteers, could we have a better grip on unlawful activity?

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