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article imageReview: Police surveillance breaches privacy, abuses power

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 27, 2015 in Crime
People may not like the spy games when the light is turned on them, but many value surveillance to catch criminals, even as others speak about how it is abused.
Author Tadaram Maradas shines a light on the other side of the game that reveals the issues of police surveillance and how it can get out of hand. He writes that people have a right to privacy, and police also have a right to do surveillance, especially when there is crime involved.  There are, however, limits for both.
What happens when authority breaches privacy and abuses its power? That's the topic of Maradas book, The Other Side of the Game.
Movies are one thing, reality another; and Maradas shows how unpleasant it can be as a target of electronic surveillance and remote neural monitoring. It happened to Maradas, and his book is an autobiographical account of the experience that prompted him to file a complaint against the police department.
In this Other Side of the Game, the author reveals the details of his surveillance and monitoring,including the official documents that were filed in his complaint and the due process he followed.   He uses legal terms and allows for definitions of how these are applied in cases like his.
The book also has an extensive index of useful references.
How police obtain evidence in surreptitious ways, without authorization, is the topic of the book.  But the reader gets information about electronic surveillance beyond the ordinary to find out unusual, how extraordinary, how complex and how personally troublesome one person found the experience.
There are also those who say surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution that states:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
According to critics of surveillance, the abuses of surveillance cameras reveal that not every police department or security individual uses the cameras appropriately. The ACLU points to Chicago's extensive security surveillance system as a serious threat to individual privacy. An example provided by a media outlet tells of a recorded party that was broken up by police using billy clubs and other aggressive tactics. The camera showed a young man at the party, then moved to focus on an empty sidewalk. The ACLU maintains this is a tactic to hide those aggressive police tactics, as the change of focus of the camera is done manually.
While domestic and international terrorism remain paramount with individuals in security, critics maintain that sometimes surveillance could be abused, especially when it comes to Muslims. In 2012 it was reported that law enforcement officials in New York City Intelligence Division was found to have eavesdropped on dossiers on dozens of mosques, businesses and student groups. Those who oppose this claim it is religious profiling, while others say that because terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon it is essential to use surveillance in a broad way in order to locate those extremists in the Muslim community.
Many in the security industry, however, point to the value of surveillance.  Recently police reviewed a surveillance video showing a man stealing a credit card out of a woman's purse from a car in a church parking lot.  Police shared the surveillance video of purchases that are claimed to have been made by Lenard Samaniego who allegedly bought gasoline, jewelry and other items with the stolen card. He was arrested and is now in jail.
Surveillance has value, security analysts remind us; however, as with other security risks, individual privacy concerns are weighed against the protection of the greater community, according to the experts.
More about The Other Side of the Game, Police surveillance, Police abuse
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