Sousveillance (pronounced /suːˈveɪləns/, French pronunciation: [suvɛjɑ̃s]) as well as inverse surveillance are terms coined by Steve Mann to describe the recording of an activity from the perspective of a participant in the activity, typically by way of small portable or wearable recording devices that often stream continuous live video to the Internet.
When this London Underground employee (now thought to be Ian Morbin) had a bad day at work, he thought, like the rest of us, that it would be forgotten by morning. Many of us take our stresses out inappropriately – whether it’s on the call centre worker or a traffic warden – occasionally on a customer. What he hadn’t counted on was Jonathan Macdonald whipping out his camera and recording the event. We’re wearily resigned to CCTV monitoring our every move – but handheld cameras present a more intimate and dispassionate view of events.
Expanding on my comments in the original post –
The pro-gun lobby often says “A well armed society is a polite society.” The implication being that you don’t go around being aggressive when anyone could pull a gun on you.
With the rise of sousveillance – I wonder if we’ll see a rise in professionalism and politeness. Because, you never know who is recording for posterity.
There are two problems I have with this:
- It relies on those higher up to do something. If this Ian chap doesn’t get disciplined – what has been achieved? Nothing. Similarly, if after all the videos of police abuses of power (G20, climate camp etc.) no officer gets punished / the rule aren’t changed – it’s all been for naught.
- I think people should be polite and professional because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Not because they’re afraid of being punished. Call me old fashioned, but I want to live in a world where people are respectful to one and other – not merely afraid of being caught out.
I hope that “Ian” doesn’t lose his job – I hope that he realises what an arse he has been and learns to treat customers with a bit more respect.
This video is presented out of context and – although I trust Jonathan’s reporting of events – we do only have his word for it. He may very well have chopped off the footage which completely exonerates Ian. Although I can’t quite conceive what that would be.
It’s interesting to notice how the blogosphere reacts to these events. Multiple repostings often fail to mention the originating site. The conversation is split between YouTube, Jonathan’s blog and those who have reposted it.
Is it better to keep conversations separate in this way? Leave the drooling YouTube commentators away from the TFL blogs – or should diverse communities try to interact to keep a canonical view of what is being said about this incident?