Smile, you’re on candid camera! If you live in Tampa, Florida, anyway.
The Tampa City Council approved legislation to install cameras in a popular night-life district of the city. The technology was tested at the Super Bowl. The cameras digitize your face and transmit the image to a computer which matches your face with those of wanted criminals. It’s a cheap and easy electronic way of dragging everybody before a police lineup whether they like it or not. Tampa citizens are up in arms. And now the politicians who authorized the cameras are saying, “Huh? We had no idea this was going on. Outrageous.” Tampa is the place where career politicians just don’t quit.
Twice last year they tried to undo term limits. First they put a repeal measure on the ballot, which voters squashed. Then they mumbled something about calling a special election to try again. It was Council Member Gwen Miller who said enough is enough. Now some councilpersons are saying that the authorization for the peeping-Tom Tampa snapshot-taking was buried so deep in other legislation that they just missed it. Okay, I guess that’s possible. Our congressmen don’t bother to read all the legislation they vote for either. Meanwhile, the Tampa councilman who wrote the bill, Robert Buckhorn, says he didn’t call any hearing about the cameras beforehand because no new money had to be appropriated for them. Apparently, it didn’t occur to the buck-passing Mr. Buckhorn that treating innocent people like criminal suspects might raise a hackle or two. Or maybe it did occur to him.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.