Senft: Feel like you're being watched?

The next time you find yourself sitting at a particularly long red light, take a look at the tops of the poles surrounding the intersection. Perhaps not in Geneseo, but in many more metropolitan areas, chances are you will see security cameras facing various points of the intersection.

In lieu of having cops sitting on the busy street, these lovely gems of technology will catch you if you run the light, and you will receive not only a ticket in the mail, but also a commemorative video proving you broke the law.

Security cameras have become such a common presence in our everyday lives that we usually don't even think about them, but each time you go out in public you are essentially starring in your own mini reality show. Gas station pumps, retail stores, parking lots, intersections, and restaurants are all equipped with technical flies on the wall, recording your personal life.

Personally, I am not a fan of the idea that some overpaid rent-a-cop could be sitting in a security booth somewhere, eating doughnuts and watching me sing along to the radio while I wait for the light to turn green.

Those who manufacture and install security cameras will tell us that they are for our own protection. They deter criminals, prevent theft, and provide evidence if a crime is committed in the vicinity.

But how far is too far? One could argue that people steal clothing by putting store items on under the ones they came in, and bam: cameras in dressing rooms. According to Hollywood, people are apparently attacked in bathroom stalls quite frequently, so voila: cameras in public restrooms. Satellite technology only heightens the amount of exposure. Log on to Google Earth sometime, type in your address, and try to figure out what you were doing when a satellite snapped that photo of your house.

Furthermore, we've reached a point in our culture where anyone can get their hands on modern day "spy" gear simply by typing it into a search bar. So not only do we have to worry about what our actions look like on public cameras, but we also have to wonder if there aren't other creeps sticking mini microphones or cameras in more discreet places. All of a sudden you've got a situation straight out of a Lifetime movie.

I am not saying that all security cameras are bad. I just think it's important that we be more aware of where they are and more vocal when they start crossing the fine line between protection and intrusion. I have never been a huge fan of reality TV, and I am not comfortable with the idea that I am being watched wherever I go. I think it's time for the rent-a-cop to go find something else to do.

Amanda Senft is a freshman English major. That's all we're authorized to divulge, stalker.