As I predicted in my blog post yesterday, the MBTA Transit Police wasted no time canvassing a number of surveillance cameras in and around the area of the State Street station where the well-publicized act of public sex occurred. Thanks in part to the blowee‘s distinctive attire and haircut, they were able to find four different photos, which they have released in an effort to identify the alleged perpetrator [see gallery below]. The photos appear to have been taken by three different security cameras.
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”3″ gal_title=”Alleged Orange Line BJ Guy”]
As far as crimes against society go, this is pretty small potatoes, and the reaction has been somewhat (wait for it …) overblown. What makes it interesting, however, is how thoroughly it illustrates the pervasiveness of cameras in our society. There was no question in my mind that the Transit Police would be able to find this guy on camera. I suspect with a little more time, they’ll be able to find dozens of photos of him.
Keep in mind that each of these photos provides police with a location and a time-stamp. That will greatly accelerate their search for additional video evidence.
In this particular case, the MBTA is attempting to crowdsource the identification of the alleged perpetrator, but there are numerous photo databases that could be used to identify this individual. Theoretically, there are limits on police use of privately-generated databases (like those created by Facebook or Google, for instance), but the walls of separation are thin and easily pierced.
In any case, it is likely that we are rocketing towards a future filled with automatic facial recognition. You heard it here first: It will not be long before every surveillance photo will include not merely timestamps but namestamps as well.
So here are a couple of interesting questions: do we all start wearing masks, and how long before masks are made illegal?