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In an age of increasing computerized intrusion and oversight, freedom of movement without surveillance no longer exists. In fact, privacy as it existed as recently as the 1990’s is gone. While video and camera recordings are standard and dare I say helpful law enforcement tools (yup, they help to nab the bad guys), wading through the unneeded rubble to get tidbits of data is like hunting for a particular needle in a pile of needles.

Particularly astonishing are the myriad of undeterred criminals in this Big Brother world. Those people fear nothing (like serving jail time) or they are plain stupid with all of its political incorrectness intended. Historically, photos often supplied a mediocre ability for the average Joe to make a single solid identification.

Photo Courtesy: FBI website
Photo Courtesy: FBI website

The 1974 San Francisco bank robbery photo of then Patty Hearst remains one of the few in which the perpetrator could be named despite the horrid graininess of the surveillance footage. I remember wondering at the time whether its lack of clarity allowed enough proof to identify her.

Current technology allows even an amateur the ability to obtain clear closeups like the one of this suspect in a December 2013 bank robbery.

Photo: Arizona Daily Star's Kimberly Matas
Photo: Arizona Daily Star’s Kimberly Matas

For the rest of us non-criminals, it seems overreaching that everywhere we go, a watchful eye exists either intentionally or by accident.

Maybe it’s not the NSA. It could be an online retailer, Google, or your ex.
Some scrutiny is self-inflicted in the name of security or anti-terrorism. Take your pick.

Walk up to any ATM, use any form of Speed Pass, social media, or email, and you are under surveillance.

Still you may need cash, you may not want to drive solely on non-toll roads, or you may simply want to keep in touch with your Aunt Sophie. The alternative is to curl up inside your home, close the blinds, sound-proof the exterior walls, disconnect the (insert audible GASP) internet, and admonish friends, family, and visitors to make no photographic evidence of your home…ever.

The fact that better than 50 percent of the people in any given crowd have the ability to take a photo with a cellphone kind of makes skinny dipping in the backyard pool less enjoyable knowing that the evidence would likely appear on the web within seconds of the event—even if your pool inhabits a fenced-in compound.

It would be interesting to see the resulting chaos if we randomly deactivated all photographic/surveillance capabilities for a week. Wow, what a week.

You may also like relocating to another planet.

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