NY Police Chief Ray Kelly Says The Boston Bombing Takes Privacy 'Off The Table'

from the not-that-there-was-much-left-on-table... dept

In light of the recent Boston bombing, NYPD Police Chief Ray Kelly is now restructuring some sort of nonexistent deal with New Yorkers, issuing a clawback on their civil liberties. According to Kelly, the Boston Marathon bombing means privacy has been "taken off the table."

“I'm a major proponent of cameras,” Kelly said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table.”
Some of you may take issue with Kelly's assumption that the privacy "offer" has been rescinded (or that it's truly his to rescind). Well, guess what. Your opinion means nothing, at least not to the chief of the NYPD.
“The people who complain about it, I would say, are a relatively small number of folks, because the genie is out of the bottle,” Kelly said. “People realize that everywhere you go now, your picture is taken.”
Ray Kelly doesn't care much for civil liberties. He's already been questioned about the NYPD's "anti-terrorism" efforts (aided by the FBI), largely comprised of various (failed) efforts to infiltrate the Muslim community. While it's failed to produce any terrorists, it has managed to tread all over the community's civil liberties. During that discussion, a Brooklyn councilman bluntly stated that the counterterrorism efforts looked to be based on "profiling" rather than on any "real leads."

He's also been queried about the notorious "stop and frisk" program, something that largely targets young minorities (87% of all stops are non-white) while failing to produce much in terms of results (only 1 in 10 stops result in a summons or arrest; weapons are only discovered in 0.2% of the stops).

Kelly has defended these two programs with a pair dubious claims. On the anti-terrorist side, he proudly states that the city has not been attacked by terrorists since the 9/11 tragedy. Considering the average person is 8 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, this claim is nothing more than Kelly attempting to take credit for a statistically improbable event not happening. It's about as meaningless as claiming no one has been struck by lightning twice while under his watch.

As for the "stop and frisk" program, Kelly claims the reduction in crime speaks for itself. But as NYCLU Director Donna Lieberman pointed out, there's precious little evidence this program did anything more than tag along for the ride as crime decreased across the nation.
Kelly nevertheless claims the program has saved thousands of lives during the last decade by reducing violent crime, an assertion that Lieberman calls "demonstrably false." She notes that homicides were already falling in New York before Kelly launched the stop-and-frisk program in 2003 and that since then they have declined more quickly in other big cities.
Speaking of "speaking for itself," this quote is allegedly Ray Kelly's goal for "stop and frisk."
According to [State Sen. Eric] Adams, Kelly "stated that he targeted or focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that any time they leave their homes they could be targeted by police."
So, we already know Kelly's general attitude towards the rights of the citizens under his care control. It appears his view on privacy is just more of the same. The question is, how much more surveillance does he feel is justified? New York already rivals the capital of Knife Crime Island Great Britain in terms of camera usage. London's "Ring of Steel" is an Orwellian construct (even the nickname conjures thoughts of Soviet Russia's surveillance of its own citizens) that funnels drivers into areas populated by thousands of unblinking law enforcement eyes. Kelly has openly expressed his pride in NY's emulation of London's surveillance system.

Kelly acts like increased surveillance is a forgone conclusion after the Boston bombing. The investigation's most useful images and video were captured by individuals and private businesses, not by PD cameras, something surveillance advocates like Kelly keep conveniently forgetting. He claims only a few will complain and the rest will just fall in line. But where is he hearing this cry for more police and government surveillance?

As far as I can tell, there's been no public outcry demanding that the police, FBI, etc. do something to prevent another tragedy. The only voices I've heard are a variety of self-contained echo chambers who hear only the reverberations of their preconceived notions.

Kelly certainly likes hearing "privacy is off the table," even if the words had to originate from his own mouth. He said it because he truly believes it. But it serves a secondary purpose as well, something I'm sure Kelly is fully aware of. Making this statement as the resident police chief in the nation's largest city sends the message to like-minded law enforcement entities that now is the time to expand surveillance efforts. After all, who's going to stop you? A "few complainers?"

Filed Under: boston, nypd, ray kelly

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2013 @ 12:04pm

    Chief Ray Kelly, may be more right than he imagines.

    Privacy as we know it will die, we are able to record every moment of our lifes today, there is not a place on earth that there is not a recording device available and the tools to mine this information will be from the government and from the public, the government will try to piece our lifes together and the people will track and piece the lifes of government personnel.

    So yeah privacy is off the table at least the privacy we conceive today, that one is dead and gone, the thing is, is not just the government with the ability to keep an eye on things now is everyone for better or worst this is times we live in.

    This will be a battle to reestablish boundaries and see what works and what doesn't.

    Done it right loss of "privacy" will mean nothing, and that is the people who can take that privacy away without exposing others to bad experiences as much as possible will be the people in control of that new environment, no matter what others say, if people don't feel the negative impact, if it cannot be felt it will be a fairy tale, which is why law enforcement probably will never get that kind of approval ever because what they do in fact affects people in a very real sense and that is why nobody will give them control over their "privacy".

    End of crazy talk.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.