Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

CitizenObserver.com On The Watch

CitizenObserver.com is a website that encourages citizens and police to work together to solve crimes. Citizens and businesses can sign up to receive alerts from police, and provide tips; police organizations can sign up to receive the tips and dispense alerts to citizens and businesses in defined areas.

The site has an elaborate tip form to allow citizens to report people that they find suspicious. The information requested includes marks and tattoos, hangouts, known associates, and gang affiliations. You can even upload a photograph of the "suspect." The tips are submitted via another site, TipSubmit.com.


(CitizenObserver tip form [partial] for Pittsburgh, PA)

The site is currently in use by 300 law enforcement agencies in thirty states, according to Terry Halsch, president of the St. Paul, Minn.-based company. Mr. Halsch is apparently the owner of the site as well. In a 2005 New York Times article, he also suggests making your outdoor cameras accessible from the Internet, to allow anyone to watch what's happening on your street. "We're trying to bring back something of the old feeling of neighbors watching out for each other, combined with new technology," Mr. Halsch said.

A recent article on the use of the system in Pittsburgh states that it is too early to tell if it will be helpful; no arrests due to citizen participation have been reported.

Not everyone seems as happy about this site as Mr. Halsch. The site raises a variety of concerns from civil liberties and privacy advocates. On DemocraticUnderground.com, it is described as a "Big Brother type of website that allows you to report your neighbors." Site users note concerns ranging from CitizenObserver becoming a mecca for busybodies with noting better to do than watch their neighbors, to the site being a place where upper-class people with easy access to computers can report everyone else, to worries that this is yet another step towards establishing a police state in which everyone is forced to watch everyone else.

One commenter thought of the same thing I did - the similarity between this site and the police use of media in Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451. In the novel, the police are chasing Guy Montag, the novel's protagonist. The police use the parlor wall televisions (an early reference to the big screen TV you have now) to organize a group effort by the public.

"Police suggest entire population in the Elm Terrace area do as follows: Everyone in every house in every street open a font or rear door or look from the windows. The fugitive cannot escape if everyone in the next minute looks from his house. Ready!"

The doors opened...

He imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into yards, into alleys, and into the sky, faces hid by curtains, pale, night-frightened faces, like gray animals peering from electric caves... (From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury)

The director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania, Vic Walczak, says "I don't have any alarm bells going off."

Read more news articles about Surveillance (with a science-fictional twist):

What do you think? Comment on CitizenObserver.com.

Thanks to Joanne98 for this story; read more at Government Innovators Network and DemocraticUnderground.com. Also, see this 2005 NY Times article (may require registration) as well as CitizenObserver.com.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/3/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

Florida Man Felt Harassed By Drone, Shoots It Down
'...a kid bounced a missile off a golden ball.' - Larry Niven, 1972.

Guard Dog Robot Security Check
'We still use people at the main gates, but here it's an automated sentry.' - Greg Bear, 2003

Portsmouth, OH Residents Don't All Favor Drone Surveillance
'...a kid bounced a missile off a golden ball.' - Larry Niven, 1972.

Airport Security Now Using Predator-Style Heat Vision Helmets
'Want some candy?'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Monarch Tractor - It's Electric, Autonomous and Smart
'Driver-optional' and follows gestures.

'Seabreeze' Apple And UCLA Project To Beat Depression
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test,' the machine said peevishly.'

Hovermap By Emesent Autonomous Mapping Works Indoors - and Out
Perfect for exploring ancient artifacts on distant planets.

Sono Motor's Sion Sun-Powered Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

LEONARDO Robot Has Legs And Thrusters, Can Skateboard, Slackline
'a walking balloon proceeded with long strides of its aluminum legs over a slant of steep upland.'

Xavier Robots On Patrol For 'Anti-Social Behavior'
'This was as close as a robot could get to a cop in uniform.'

Rotating House in Bosnia
'... feel free to turn the house on your own.'

Ingenious Engineer Creates DIY Feeding Robot
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

SpaceX Creates 'Tholian Web' Mega Constellation Of Satellites
'We shall not see home again!'

Do Smart Glasses Need Forward-Facing Cameras?
'They were stylish, with yellow-tinted lenses and hip frames, but the posts were unusually thick.'

Adorable One-Seater Electric Car From Wuxi Sinotech
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'

Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation
'He immediately turned the small shining disc of the Language Rectifier..'

It's Spacewalk Sunday, Thanks To The ESA
'The delicious, indescribable pleasure of being a little planet swinging through space...'

Pengxing Intelligent Robot Horse You Can Ride
'The horse reared up, pawing the air, then sprang into a gallop.'

Tesla Bot Humanoid 'Robot' Vs. Boston Dynamics Atlas Parkour Robot
'...most jobs that require a human form are better done by those organic alternatives.'

Altos Labs' Bezos Wants An Anti-Agathic (To Live Forever)
'So what we're looking for now is... an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.