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Peep Videos Versus Justice :comments

Posted by Hal
Tags: production, Video sharing, Voyeurism

A fascinating story yesterday in the New York Times directly related to Peep. Supreme Court Enters the YouTube Era is the headline. Basically it describes several situations where video evidence is found to be more compelling than any other kind of testimony, particularly spoken recollections. We see this again with the Robert Dziekanski panel going on right now to determine why the RCMP tasered the Polish man, coming to move in with his mother, 5 times, effectively killing him. In that case, amateur video shot by an airport bystander named Paul Pritchard seems to be contradicting the vast majority of what the RCMP officers are testifying.

In the age of Peep, just about everything that happens in public is going to be recorded by someone. In many cases, these videos will end up contradicting official reports of what happened. In many cases, as the New York Times article makes clear, video “evidence” will be privileged automatically over other kinds of testimony, simply because video is far more visceral and dynamic than any other kind of testimony that could be offered. The problem, of course, is that video doesn’t always tell the story of what really happened. We’re conditioned to believe video, and video incites us to rash and immediate judgments.

The other problem is that video clips of shocking events inevitably become part of Peep culture—they are entertainment even as they are evidence. They end up on Youtube and are watched by thousands, commented on, and generally enjoyed. Which makes me feel, sometimes, as if we’d all be better off if there were no videos of these events, even the lack of video evidence may prevent justice for obvious victims like Robert Dziekanski and the piteous man in the video below who is tasered because he’s too distraught and confused to get up off the ground where he’s sitting slumped and handcuffed. 

Conventional wisdom is that monitoring videos are a vital tool, an increasingly useful check on power. At the same time, even as they introduce their evidence, they effect society in ways we don’t really understand yet.

 

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The Bloggist

Hey, I’m Hal Niedzviecki. I’m a writer/thinker who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my wife and daughter. Up till now I’ve always considered myself a private person. But at the same time I’m fascinated by people who effortlessly open themselves up to the whole world. So I’ve… more...

 

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