I, Camera – The 5 Laws of FFUCams

FFUCam in action
A FFUCam spreading trust
[ based on image by West Midlands Police ]

Everyone knows that the camera never lies. That’s a definitely true fact. The flip side to this fact is of course the additional fact that people can and do lie – frequently. So when it comes to lying, cameras are clearly more trustworthy, reliable and generally better than people. Everyone has known this since the phrase “the camera never lies” was first discovered in 1857 (the date might be a lie of course, after all I’m only human).

The incredible thing is that despite everyone knowing that the camera never lies and is better than people, this beacon of moral certitude was so massively under utilised.

Let us consider the evidence before us in a forensic and thorough way.

Do cameras commit murder? No.
Are cameras ever drunk and disorderly? No.
Do cameras abuse their position in society? No.

It follows then that since the dawn of cameras, mankind has been in the presence of an eminently trustworthy shining light of goodness, which, apart from the not lying thing, has hardly had a decent outing.

Consider the following if you will. What if a public servant, say a policeman, who coming from a public institution like the police, that was hardly trusted at its inception (before the camera was invented), what if the police and the policeman had grown to be trusted and now were having trust issues. Where could said policeman turn, bearing in mind that not everyone can afford a public relations makeover every time they accidentally beat someone up? The camera of course holds the answer – simply slap a forward facing camera on said policeman and job done, trust restored.

It really is that simple.

Where are the facts you ask. Facts schmacts! This hasn’t been discovered using facts. It has been stated using rhetoric.

So maybe if we slapped forward facing cameras on criminal types and other ne’er-do-wells then we could make them into trustworthy members of society, eradicate all crime and do away with the entire criminal justice system, thus saving cash strapped tax payers millions.

Clearly that is a ridiculous idea and just the sort of stupid illogical thinking that leads to billions being wasted on stupid ideas that don’t achieve anything. A camera can’t make a criminal not be a criminal, unless the criminal is some sort of public servant, like say a policeman, who has overstepped the proverbial mark.

Perhaps to help clear this all up we need some laws, a bit like the ones Isaac Asimov knocked up for robots. First let’s define a few terms.

The forward facing cameras with these magical powers have been around for a number of years – at first they were called bodycams, nowadays they are known as Body Worn Video (BWV), but they will soon be known as Forward Facing Un-perfidiousing Cams or FFUCams. These FFUCams are a revolutionary new policing tool, a bit like the last revolutionary tool that created a revolution in policing but better, and nearly as good as the next revolutionary tool.

FFUCams are being rolled out across the globe in a global sales tide a bit like a globalised tidal wave of anti perfidiousness.

So now we are ready to construct the Laws of FFUCams.

  • The First Law of FFUCams: The camera never lies.
    As explained above this law has been known for many years and even existed before the FFUCam was first envisioned. In fact this law was effectively the goose that laid the golden egg which nobody noticed until some very clever police technology firms found it hiding in plain sight. The corollary of this law is that it depends what the question was but let’s not get too nit picky.
  • The Second Law of FFUCams: Attaching a FFUCam to a public servant will instantly restore trust.
    Forget sacking untrustworthy public servants, investigating inappropriate behaviour or disbanding public institutions that no longer serve the public. Simply attach FFUCams and order will be restored. One slight caveat is make sure that enough batteries and chargers are purchased as it could be embarrassing if trust collapses again for want of a few amperes. This law has even been certified by the American Civil Liberties Union so it’s an even truer law.
  • The Third Law of FFUCams: FFUCams can’t make a criminal not be a criminal, unless the criminal is some sort of public servant, like a police officer.
    FFUCams are not miracle workers, except when they are miraculously restoring trust in public servants.
  • The Fourth Law of FFUCams: People won’t complain if they are shot (with a FFUCam).
    Some people like nothing better than to complain about everything. These people undermine the trust in public servants that has already been undermined by the public servants themselves. These people deserve to be shot and now they can be with a FFUCam – thus magically stopping them from complaining. Note it is important to point out that “shot” is here used in its photographical sense.
    (This is particularly necessary as TASER, one of the manufacturers of FFUCams has just landed a FFUCam deal with MOPAC (London Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime) who have been criticised recently for unintentional TASER discharges and so TASER FFUCams will now be the preferred unintentional shooting tool of the police unless they accidentally unintentionally shoot their TASER TASER in which case they will intentionally shoot their TASER FFUCam, thus restoring trust.)
  • The Fifth Law of FFUCams: FFUCams create a field of transparency which can only be a good thing.
    Transparency is one of those really cool new words that sounds good but you’re never really sure what it’s meant to mean, a bit like “transformational” or “proportionate”. In fact FFUCams are a proportionate transformational tool of transparency and as the dictionary definition of transparent is “easy to see through” it’s probably got something to do with that. Which must be good. After all what could possibly go wrong when you give a FFUCam to a public servant striving to be unperfidious, and you give them control of the on-off switch and they get to keep and archive the footage and decide which bits they want use and how they want to interpret them. That’s proportionate transformational transparency in a nutshell.

 

Final FFUCam Thoughts

Whilst the five laws of FFUCams are perfect in every way and meet with all modern good regulation guidelines, there remain a few niggling issues that will need to be ironed out. It might be true that the camera never lies, but who operates the camera? If the camera is operated by a human then we’re right back where we started – saddled with lying, cheating, no good purveyors of perfidiousness. Or perhaps the aim is to go human-less and allow machines to operate the FFUCams – except wouldn’t a human have to program the machine – ergo we’ve gone nowhere again. Or perhaps the aim is to allow the machines to program themselves – in which case we might need Asimov’s 3 laws of robotics after all. But even here we have a problem, as Asimov’s first law is essentially do no harm to man and since this is pretty much the first axiom of natural justice there’s just a feeling that we might not have gone anywhere at all here either. Still there’ll be plenty of money to make along the way finding out and what’s the worst that could happen…?

Endnotes:

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  • Gjallarbru

    There are no technological magic bullet. Human made technology can be manipulated by humans, modified by humans, destroyed by humans. If there is sufficient interest, there is no technology that can resist assault by humans.

    To think that adding some gadget would solve any issue is, at best, wishful thinking. The underlying problems need to be resolved, not covered up by some technological bandage. Although I applaud the effort to analyze the role of technology, I doubt any serious solution is to be found there.

    We need to change as a society, and each of us individually. The current set of values, most born in antiquity, need to be evaluated and if need be, changed. Until that happens on a global scale, you can all the bandages you like, you won’t really solve anything.

  • terrasodium

    We have drone technology, why not just hand the “public servants” a joy stick and a monitor, why do we insist on gradually introducing technology into public policing one piece at a time, clearly the public has normalised the idea that privacy is outdated .It is time that we combine our colective resourses and just build the all seeing eye of justice for our childrens brighter,more secure future. and that’s not just dish washing detergent, you’re soaking in it, mild on the hands, hard on the dishes.

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