Industry, Technology and Politics
Edited By Alec Charles
Jon Silverman YouTube If You Want To
: Camera Phones, Investigative Journalism and Social Control In 2007 New York mayor Michael Bloomberg urged citizens to use their mobile phones to record crimes in progress and send the images directly to the police. Although an astute businessman and administrator, it is perhaps unlikely that Bloomberg is a student of the Dutch political sci- entist Maarten Hajer (2009: 9) who developed a theory of the politics of multiplicities: ‘What is crucially new nowadays is that political actors must constantly reckon with the fact that what they say at one stage to one par- ticular public, will often, almost instantaneously, reach another public that might “read” what has been said in a radically dif ferent way and mobilize because of what it heard’. Some U.S. citizens have indeed decided that camera phones and other forms of visual recording could indeed be used to capture crimes in progress – crimes committed by the police. In July 2009 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People launched an online reporting system to enable users to upload cell phone images of alleged police abuse. Violent treatment of ethnic minority citizens is one of the staples of a website called Toxic Cops (www.ToxicCops.com), which proclaims that ‘your weapon of choice is your camera’ and which has its own YouTube channel with the sole purpose of exposing what it regards as egregious examples of police brutality. Toxic Cops also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Another similarly f lourishing site is Cops Out of Control...
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