Give these people a prize

I don't know what these peoples' names are--I don't even know which company they worked for--but if I ever find out who the people responsible for deciding that digital cameras in mobile phones are, I'll have them all to dinner at my house. I'll even cook.

I'm sure I'm not the first to marvel at how this has changed the power structure between the governed and the government, but it really hit me when I read this comment by a poster named BabylonSista over at Coates' place:

I don't know if I could stand to see more video of this young man being mistreated and killed. It's a dark blessing, however, that the video exists--if there were no video, this scandal might have been ignored completely.
She's talking about the latest development in the Oscar Grant case, which involves a police officer hitting someone for no reason. Without those videos from the mobile phones, there's little doubt in my mind that the police officer in question would never have faced a murder charge the way he is now. We give police the benefit of the doubt in this society--we do it far too often, in my view--and with the official video unavailable (and I'm making no charges about how that happened), the judicial system would have rallied around the police officer.

But with citizens now having the ability to not only record--because cameras can do that--but also transmit pictures and video almost instantly, it makes covering this sort of thing up much, much more difficult. And this is hardly the first time. YouTube is full of examples of cops who were out of control and who were only busted for it because onlookers had mobile phones with cameras on them.

Maybe I'm overstating the case a little, but that melding of technologies might be one of the most significant of recent history.

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