Michaels: Urge to primp before law turns on its cold camera eye

Earlier this week, someone looked at me and said they were trying to match the face in front of them with the picture they saw in this paper.

Earlier this week, someone looked at me and said they were trying to match the face in front of them with the picture they saw in this paper.

The creepy feeling that goes with diminished anonymity aside, the comment tweaked an increasingly worrisome neurosis. Having sped past the age when missing a couple hours of sleep meant nothing, I immediately reached for my double chin, stood straighter and rapidly fired out reasons why there would be a disparity—dehydration and sleepiness were among the first to come to mind. I was about to launch into a discussion about my failing flat-iron before realizing I’d embarked on an awkward over-share that likely frightened the poor man.

He may have been talking snapshots, but he really didn’t need to see my camera persona.

That one shamelessly preens, works all angles to expose my skin in the most youthful manner and frankly looks barmy from every view, other than the one directly behind a camera.

It may seem irrelevant, unless you consider Big Brother’s growing surveillance state may be lining me up for something that looks a bit like a raging social disorder.

Recent surveys say that each of us is photographed up to 10 times a day, at everywhere from the grocery store to the bank machine and, if you’re particularly unlucky, even on Google streetcam.

Although I’ve considered dressing up for the bank machine, most times one could be somewhat unaware of the invasion, allowing them to shuffle along peacefully. But there’s one new addition that’s causing me to sweat.

Kelowna Mounties announced Monday they too were strapping on cameras in an effort to increase transparency. Local coppers, like their counterparts nearly everywhere, have had some PR problems as of late, all to do with varying incidents of alleged brutality and they’ve decided video is the cure.

They can turn their cameras on and off at will, which everyone is pointing out to be a value-diminishing element of this effort, but my vanity won’t know that. I’m bound to abandon my precious anonymity to throw my best angle forward, arch my neck strangely, raise an eyebrow and offer a strained smile.

Should an officer be disconcerted by the wacko in front of them, that could escalate my potential disorder by their zooming in (previously known as, walking toward me.) See my problem? So long anonymity, hello real mugshot.

Jokes aside, transparency and safety may be the name of the game when it comes to installing cameras everywhere, but their mere presence is distracting, behaviour changing and raise legitimate questions about how, where and why the technology will be used.

People in a free society, like ours, have come to expect a certain degree of privacy and anonymity and whether everyone should ante up that to counteract the behaviours of a few bad seeds is cause for pause.

So, no Const. DeMille, I’m not ready for my closeup. Not until I primp a little anyway.

Kathy Michaels is a staff reporter for the Kelowna Capital News.




Kelowna Capital News