Universal Video Surveillance?

UNIVERSAL VIDEO SURVEILLANCE?….Eugene Volokh points out that a court has upheld a law in my hometown of Garden Grove that requires video surveillance of all cybercafes. It is, he says, “not a doctrinally easy case.”

The proximate cause was gang problems at cybercafes ? which really is a problem in Garden Grove these days ? but count me as being on the skeptical side anyway. Requiring uniformed security guards or other appropriate security measures is something I can live with. Voluntarily installing video cameras is also OK. But requiring video surveillance is rather more disturbing, especially at a place that is practically a shrine to the right of free speech.

Is universal surveillance inevitable? Maybe. But I don’t think we should go down without a fight.

UPDATE: By the way, a good rule of thumb with things like this is to ask yourself this question: would you trust, say, Richard Nixon or J. Edgar Hoover with this law? If the answer is no, you should think pretty hard about whether it’s a good idea.