May 28 2013, 3:01am CDT | by Sumayah Aamir
Graffiti is as old as mankind. While it serves as a safety valve for excess human frustration and aggressive impulses, it can be a public menace. Take the case of the German National Railways. According to the BBC News
, graffiti costs them a record seven million per annum. The amount of energy and financial resources that get wasted on cleaning up the mess would not be necessary was a method discovered to prevent the crime before it occurred. It is for this reason that the Deutsche Bahn has decided to employ anti-graffiti drones in its fight against vandalism. Public defacement of property has gone far enough and the German National Railways is ready to fight back.
However, a minor issue that automatically creeps up with this step is the violation of privacy. When these small-sized spy drones will hover in the air over the public in transit at the railway station they will get to peek at everything people are doing. Germans value their relative confidentiality and don’t like government or any other agency poking its nose where it doesn’t belong. This snag lies in the way of utilizing this advanced and effective technology.
The plan is to fit the drones with infra-red vision so they can spy on unsuspecting vandals who use spray paint to destroy and damage public property. The purpose of the probing and meddling is to be able to gather the required footage on video camera and thereby prosecute such criminal elements in the court of law. The drones are going to cost a fortune each. And they will fly at 500 feet above the scenes where the most crimes take place in order to catch repeat offenders.
However, already voices of dissent are beginning to be heard regarding these anti-crime strategies. Civil rights groups are going to protest against this infringement of privacy. Even Google had to delete some of its Street View videos from Germany due to many Germans’ refusal to allow their homes to come under surveillance. The Germans want their privacy badly and are not about to give it up so easily.
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