Monday, January 22, 2007

Emergency calls to accept photos and videos

Open the Future has this piece on Co-opting the Participatory Panopticon? which looks at the recent move for some US emergency call centres to accept pictures and videos from phones:

The city of New York, in a rather clever move, has decided to equip its 911 (emergency) and 311 (non-emergency) call centers with the ability to receive cameraphone pictures and videos.

This is one of those developments that makes so much sense, it's a wonder that nobody made it happen earlier. I have no doubt that we'll see other cities adopt this approach in the months to come, both in the US and internationally. As much as it has the potential for frivolous or malicious use -- just as regular 911 calls do -- it has the potential to give first responders a better idea of an emergency situation, allowing the professionals and the civilians to work together to evaluate conditions.

This goes some way towards the notion of sousveillance - the idea of the participatory panopticon.

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