A standard story: In the bad old days, police gave lip service to law, but actually often looked the other way, issued street justice, planted evidence, or lied under oath, all to implement their own sense of who should be punished, to gain payola, or to bow to the necessities of political influence. While this situation continues in much of the world, in our great nation, ta da, heroic legal activists appealed to our better natures, and shamed us into constraining the police, judges, etc. to actually follow the legal principles to which they give lip service. Sure sometimes we find a few bad apples, but now we mostly do just apply the law neutrally.
I'm sorry, but idealistically, there is no crime, and hence no need for police officers.
Therefore there is no idealistic argument for not taping the police, as, they themselves are admitting by their very existence that the world is non-ideal.
Scott Greenfield (a defense lawyer) argues that we stretch the rules of evidence for unsympathetic defendants we've decided seem guilty.
So why no large-scale civil disobedience to overturn such laws. Millions of people going to police stations everywhere filming any move...?
I just added to this post.
It's easy to understand why, on a gut level, police would not want to be filmed while on duty. It's the same reason why people of certain age or racial groups are sensitive about being followed around a store by the store's employees. There's an implication that the person being filmed is presumed to be doing something wrong.
And beyond that, there's the possibility that a recording could be selectively edited and disseminated on the Internet, creating widespread (and potentially unjustified) outrage.
I do think recording the public actions of police officers should be legal. Cops should be trained to not regard video cameras as threatening, and indeed to expect that any interaction with the public might be filmed by a member of the public. But perhaps a compromise could be reached wherein only unedited footage would be legal to disseminate? (Or, if you disseminate an edited version, the unedited version must be available as well.)
The different vectors for this problem:
1) Technology - cameras will become even smaller and less obtrusive2) Common Sense - there's no good reason to prevent this3) Insurance - I could record it, and decide to release the recording if and only if the charge against me was significant (worse than breaking the wiretapping law)4) Supreme Court - I suspect that one a person from State X is pulled over by a police officer from State Y, that we'll see this bubble up to the Supreme Court, who I suspect will be unsympathetic to this wiretapping argument5) Networking - perpetual instant recording to the internet renders some of these laws antiquated
In other words, in 10 years, even when I think about things in near mode (or at least I think I do), I suspect that some small subset of people will surreptitiously record the police, and release the tapes when they misbehave.
The average voter...
Average people, the best argument for authoritarianism.
Nietzsche called this the social struggle of the spirits, or something like that.
With respect, this has almost nothing to do with "far" and "near". What it signals is that Robin Hanson has found a hammer in this easy and almost moralistic conceptual division.
Partly, but construal level theory explores the empirical cluster of concepts and percepts which push a person's thoughts towards temporary dominance by one or by the other. Old theories are rarely wrong, just very incomplete. This is a way of adding detail to an old theory, making it easier to test and possibly to understand.
"Now ask yourself honestly, in near mode, what you think will usually happen in ten years to someone who tries to visibly record their interaction with police"
Police: Hey put that awayShooter: No way manPolice: Thats illegalShooter: Screw you that XXX you did was fucked upPolice: Look I am only gonna tell you once more [Places hand on recording device]Shooter: Get the fuck off mePolice: [Uses Taser or current non lethal force device]
Yes. I was in southeast DC the other night. Looking around I thought, "Boy, I feel unsafe. Something really needs to be done to weaken the police force."
That's not the "standard story" except among clueless legal activists and fellow travelers. The average voter for whom such policies are crafted has this standard story: The police are there to protect us from the bad guys, and if they need to be cut a legal slack, so be it; who cares if it's on the wrong side of a legal technicality?
So there's no hypocrisy here at all. Voters are getting what they want. Why do they tolerate these policies? Because they aren't speed demons who ride motorbikes, bums who sell one-dollar "artwork" on the Chicago streets, etc. They figure they will rarely or never need to film a cop interacting with them, while the bad guys would love to film the cop and trip them up on some technicality that would get them acquitted during trial. So the average voter is willing to look the other way on this.
The average voter might have need to ask a cop for his name or badge number, so I'd expect those actions to be far less likely to be outlawed (de jure or de facto). Law-abiding people don't see those as a way for bad guys to get off on a technicality, and as something they themselves would rarely need to make use of.
My prediction for 10 years out: interactions with the police will be recorded routinely. Recordings will be available to anybody involved in the incident. Possibly they will be public records, possibly public records if released by the non-police involved. Sure the pigs will resist these inroads into their organized-crime-except-legal affairs. They have resisted previous inroads, but have lost. I have thought the last few years that the pigs are getting so in the face of the not-really-criminal middle class, that they were do for some major brush back. I think these cases where they are succeeding at prosecuting their victims will be a short-lived exception to the trend.
Aren't the concepts of near and far just reformulations of the Freudian concepts of id and superego?
Is this story really colliding with recording technology? What percentage of police interactions with the public actually involve such breaches?
My prediction for ten years out: jurisdictions where the police are both powerful and largely independent will have recording restrictions while jurisdictions where the police are relatively weak will not. I would think this is true now and holds across occupations. I'm thinking California prison guards and being tough on crime.