NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Cameras are increasingly closing in on the people who live, work and visit New York City.
Now, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is saying there’s really no way to escape the big brother reality.
Speaking on his weekly radio program, Bloomberg responded to a question about the possible domestic use of drones by the NYPD or another entity, calling it “scary.”
“Everybody wants their privacy, but I don’t know how you’re going to maintain it,” Bloomberg said. “It’s just we’re going into a different world, uncharted, and, like it or not, what people can do, what governments can do, is different. And you can to some extent control, but you can’t keep the tides from coming in.”
The New York Civil Liberties Union has documented nearly 2,400 surveillance cameras in Manhattan alone and Bloomberg said flying drones watching your every move could also be overhead in the near future, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Friday.
“What’s the difference whether the drone’s up in the air or on the building? I mean intellectually, I have trouble making a distinction,” Bloomberg said.
Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU said it is a big issue that the mayor is downplaying.
“It’s disappointing that the mayor shows such disdain for the legitimate concern of New Yorkers about their privacy. None of us expects that we’ll go unseen when we’re out on the street, but we also have the right to expect that the government isn’t making a permanent record,” Lieberman said.
People around New York are conflicted, with some voicing concern while others saying it was inevitable.
“What can you do? When you go online, Facebook, everybody’s watching you. So what you gonna do, you have no choice,” one man told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.
“It’s terrible, there’s no privacy,” said one woman.
“I don’t want somebody watching me all the time and that’s very big brother. But at the same time, the way the world is now, it’s a safety issue,” said Gary Timmons, of the West Side.
“There’s a need for them. The world is changing and you have to change with it and protect your citizens,” said Maria Costa of New Jersey.
But as for Mayor Bloomberg, he said he believes there is simply no way to stop the influx of increased surveillance.
“We’re going to have more visibility and less privacy. I don’t see how you stop that and it’s not a question of whether I think it’s good or bad; I just don’t see how you could stop that because we’re going to have them,” Bloomberg said.
It is a debate that will continue to rage as more cameras are mounted above city streets.
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