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Watching Them Watching You

December 8, 2009

The city government of Rio de Janeiro has voted 46 to 3 in favour of installing video surveillance cameras inside all new police vehicles, and overridden the veto of the Governor, Sergio Cabral.

Cabral, who is otherwise all in favour of video surveillance, did everything he could to stop this law, but in vain. The reason that the pro-police governor is so against this particular law and order measure is that the cameras are supposed to be installed not simply to ‘protect’ police officers but also to prevent abuse of power, corrupt practice and police violence against suspects. This is a huge issue in Rio (and Brazil more generally), and we saw a good example of this recently with the inhumane actions by officers after the fatal assault on Evandro, the founder of Afro-Reggae.

However, I do wonder how officers will take this development, how the cameras will be used in practice, and how many of them will conveniently experience technical failures at important moments…

(Thanks to Paola Barreto Leblanc for the heads up)

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 8, 2009 1:55 pm

    You hit the nail on the head David. Its a good idea (in theory) to kirb abuses by police but it all depends how the system will be used in practice.

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