The modern world: the real, significant moments in life are captured by cameras

Looking at a range of events including Ferguson, Missouri, the Ray Rice case, and the release of celebrities’ nude selfies, one writer raises two important questions:

And above all these questions, there’s an ultimate one: What happens when you change a camera into a networked lens?

And: What happens when you add a networked lens to a situation?

Who gains power: the people holding the camera or the people being filmed? (Some argue that cop bodycams would in fact empower the police. After all, who has time to review all that footage?) Whose behavior changes, and how much? What can we expect will happen to the images that result? (Will they disappear into a database forever? If so, what can be done to them there? How will that affect us?)

We don’t know the answer to these twinned questions—but we’re learning a little more every day.

We are sorting through the coming together of two powerful forces: the rise of the visual image (decades in the making) and the Internet enabled and social media fueled interconnections between people. And sometimes, the results are not pretty.

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