Peeping Toms category archive
The Bangor Daily News reprints a Bloomberg article on the explosive growth in the use of automobile license plate scanners, leaving you no place for privacy. Here’s a bit; follow the link for the rest:
It appears a new reality is emerging in which simply leaving home in your car makes you a likely target of surveillance. But, as efficient and effective as license plate scanners appear to be, they carry huge costs as well. The auto industry — which is already struggling to maintain its long-term marketing strategy of associating car ownership with that emotional touchstone personal freedom — may find that these profound social shifts further erode its pitch that “we don’t sell cars, we sell freedom.” Without their appeal to freedom, automobiles will struggle to compete with more pragmatic (if nontraditional) alternatives, such as car sharing and public transportation.
But the use of license plate scanners and other car surveillance techniques may already be so embedded as to prevent any rollback. And with private companies leading the way in normalizing surveillance in the name of financial savings — as Progressive Insurance has done with its Snapshot program, which offers discounts in return for collecting data about driver activity and behavior — the public may already be so inured to it as to quell any public outrage to the recent revelations.
Leonard Pitts, Jr., tackles the recent theft of pictures of well-known actresses and models. I have a few quibbles with some of what he say, but he speaks reasonably.
He starts by considering that men like pretty pictures–that’s biology. Then he moves on to the theft.
. . . it has always seemed to me that if an adult woman of sound mind decides – without coercion and of her own volition – to trade on her sexuality in that way, it’s her call. Granted, some of us worry about objectifying women. But we should also be wary of infantilizing them. If some actress poses in the altogether for public consumption – and some guy enjoys it – I find it hard to define that as de facto sexism, so long as the choice was hers.
Which is precisely what’s wrong, creepy, slimy and profoundly distasteful about the hacking of those files and the posting of those pictures. Jennifer Lawrence didn’t make that choice. Nor did Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst or any of the other women whose unclothed images were stolen by unknown hackers and splashed across the Internet on Labor Day weekend by celebrity gossip Perez Hilton (he’s since apologized) and two popular message boards.
Let no one argue the women never should have taken the photos in the first place or entrusted them to digital lockboxes. To do so would come perilously close to blaming the victim for her own misfortune, something with which women who were raped were once (he should have “are,” not “were once”–ed.) all too familiar.