2009 Prediction: Extended Neighborhood Watch Nabs Criminals

by  —  December 8, 2008

Updated: 13.dec.2008; article appended

The world population has a subset comprised of people who, for one reason or another, demonstrate an online desire to constructively expand and, at least in their view, build a better society around them; this phenomenon is repeatedly demonstrated through public knowledge repositories such as those backed by a wiki format. Concurrently, 2008 draws to a close with live web presence being broadcast in increasingly better quality, and with content of every day slice-of-life views.

Using the editors of Wikipedia as an example, we can see that there is a core of people1 spread around the world who patrol the encyclopedic content watching for forms of vandalism and misinformation. It does not seem outrageous to claim that this behavior satisfies something within individual editors which is akin to the fulfillment of justice and the maintenance of a world view. Similarly, it is unlikely that, for the majority of these individuals, there is something peculiar to encyclopedic bodies which restricts this desire; instead, it is reasonable that this motivating desire could be applied to other arenas were they available.

The other ingredient to this cake, web cams, have had sort of a milk-jug-being-slid-across-the-kitchen-counter existence. Historically, development would occur to a certain resolution quality which was bounded by how much data could be transmitted upstream, during which relative-lull widely available upstream capabilities would surge ahead; rinse and repeat. At present, the quality of web cam broadcasts, thanks to both increasing resolution of cheaper cameras and the decreasing cost for wider upstream bandwidth, has become quite good. Getting an amount of general media exposure recently, there are two good quality example streams from the Tenderloin in San Francisco2 at “Adam’s Block”3 — we’re not at the quality of license plate resolution at this distance, but it is generally sharp and with a spry frame rate.

So we have a world population of desktop vigilantes and an increasing population of good quality live web broadcasts of slice-of-life happenings. Further, thanks to the world-wide nature of the internet, observation can occur continually, 24 hours per day, without any one observer needing to perturb their sleep nor social schedule. The last, minimal and non-essential, ingredient would be an even easier way to contact law enforcement local to the geographical area for the camera feed. All of which leads to the prediction that 2009 will see criminal activity being reported by geographically truly remote observers.

Update – 13.dec.2008

The SF Chronicle is reporting on recent developments with Adam’s Block.

  1. the Huggle whitelist lists over 30,000 editors, for example []
  2. simply the best city in the world []
  3. for those not familiar with the Tenderloin, it’s one of the more squalid neighborhoods in San Francisco; so, the likelihood of witnessing something dodgy from the stream is decent []

Marked as: LawSocietal PoliciesTechnology  —  2 comments   (RSS)

2 Comments so far
  1. christina December 16, 2008 11:37 am

    I have all the “Scorpions” naughty album covers saved onto disc in cold storage.

  2. christina December 16, 2008 11:45 am

    Everything is becoming a crime.
    I wish I had more of a sense of being a criminal.
    I like to run around naked.
    That is probably a crime.
    I have a paranoia that all police are taking bribes on the side and that they
    sell crack.
    also: I believe the NSA sweeps the globe taking satellite pictures and
    that only the crimes they want unsolved stay that way.
    and I also believe they have to let enough crime get through to justify even
    more laws that aren’t needed because it is already illegal to kill people
    if you hate them while your doing it…what does that mean?
    Any murder would be a hate crime!
    I realize that I have probably just broken several laws, and ask to be excused
    for time served on this rotating orb of a prison.

Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please fill out the form below.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

© 2007-2015 Process Media Labs and the respective authors. This WordPress theme began as a public work by Speckyboy.