I spent a good amount of time Saturday night in the night-vision-green haze of the Oakland debacle. A lone citizen journalist hollering at arrested protestors for their names. Footage of battle-gear sporting plump policemen milling about outside the kettling cordon, pausing to eat chinese food off the back of a police cruiser, arresting journalists. It’s part of the ambient video playlist for the next decade, so you may as well get used to it.
Ignoring the political hubbub, what’s clear is that there is an information problem. Mainstream media is, of course, by and large not serious in its coverage of anything, much less OWS. That little which is, finds itself susceptible to arrest. Citizen media is all niche. The bad apples in police are literally taking advantage of the opaqueness to hit and hide.
The solution is to provide better, clearer information streams. Best way to do that? Take a page from the Air Force.
You could, of course, do this with drones. There’s already been a a little work in that regard. Another option is to birth a litter of gorgon babies. Protestors with wearable cameras that stream over a mesh network.
A server to aggregate, then use some pretty sophisticated software (some funded by an interesting VC) to process the collective feeds. But here’s the key, pair the data with something actionable: a legal team.
Not unlike the ubiquitous traffic camera, they watch for infractions – mace to an unsuspecting face – then launch lawsuits. They shouldn’t be altruistic. They should see this enterprise as a profit center. Hell, they should buy and give out the cameras. And they shouldn’t skimp, the return on this investment would be insane.
Off the shelf, something likeequipped with an Eye-fi should work, though multidirectional would be better.
Update: Dale has a much better option for the camera. The Looxcie.