Letter: Misuse of webcam?

Editor:

Re: Three-pronged approach to environmental issues (Jan. 26 issue of the Grand Forks Gazette)

It is incumbent upon the new environmental committee to explain to this populace the exact nature and usages of a webcam on Observation Mountain, ostensibly to record data in pursuit of improved environmental quality.

I am not at all clear about how some sort of TV camera will be useful in that pursuit.

The history of such technology is full of misuse and I am concerned that it represents an invasion of our various privacies. I do not want to be spied upon – that’s not what I moved here for.

Will a webcam register emissions from, let’s say, specific aircraft flying in and out of the airstrip? Is it equipped to record sound pollution sources?

Is its technology capable of homing in on emissions from errant street vehicles and other sources? Heat-seeking devices have a broad range of application and technology exists that tracks such targets. Chemicals-sensitive technology exists that locates plants at given stages of their developments.

Is the proposed technology capable of recording people feeding deer, others riding motor vehicles in forbidden places, people dumping garbage in the river or others walking with loose dogs and not picking up after them? If yes, do measures exist by which miscreants will be brought to task?

It seems to me that spying on people, without prompt and effective follow-up against transgressors is of little value, even if the city’s residents are in favour of a spy mechanism in their midst. I suspect a majority is not.

Enlightenment on the technology and its proposed uses and consequences would be most welcome and I anticipate the same in a future edition of the Gazette.

Dave Milton, Grand Forks