Professor Glenn Harlan ReynoldsThe Popular Mechanics article Watching the Watchers: Why Surveillance Is a Two-Way Street said
Suddenly, cameras are everywhere. As this month’s cover story notes, the recent boom in video monitoring by both the state and businesses means we’re all being watched. It’s like something out of George Orwell’s 1984. Except that, unlike Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith, we can watch back and plenty of people are doing just that. Which makes a difference.
The widespread installation of recording devices is not all bad: ATM cameras helped prove that Duke students accused of rape couldn’t have committed the crime. And we all sympathize with the goals of preventing terrorism and crime, though it is not proven that security cameras accomplish this.
Nonetheless, the trend toward constant surveillance is troubling. And even if the public became concerned enough to pass laws limiting the practice, it’s not clear how well those laws would work. Government officials and private companies too often ignore privacy laws. (In a notorious recent case, Hewlett-Packard executives were caught spying on the phone records of reporters covering the company.) Besides, the technology of surveillance is becoming so advanced biologists are now attaching tiny cameras to crows’ tail feathers to observe the birds’ tool use in the wild that in reality there’s not much we can do to ensure privacy anyway.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, J.D. was the author of this article and is
the Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the
University of Tennessee, and an expert in space and technology law. His
opinions have appeared in publications ranging from the
Review to the
Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. But to
most of the
world, he’s better known as the voice of
Instapundit a hugely
political blog with a libertarian spin. In 2006, he published a book,
An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary
to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths. With his
forensic psychologist Dr. Helen Smith, he produces a weekly podcast,
The Glenn and Helen Show.
Glenn is one of the most prolific scholars on the UT faculty. His special interests are law and technology and constitutional law issues, and his work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including the Columbia Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Wisconsin Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Law and Policy in International Business, Jurimetrics, and the High Technology Law Journal. He has also written in the New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal, as well as other popular publications. He is a frequent contributor to Popular Mechanics Magazine, where he writes about broad legal and practical issues in the digital age, and often participates in their coverage of events such as the Consumer Electronics Show. He used to be a contributing editor to the TechCentralStation.Com website, and wrote a regular column for the Fox News website.
He is the coauthor of Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy and The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business, and Society. He has testified before Congressional committees on space law, international trade, and domestic terrorism. He has been executive chairman of the National Space Society and a member of the White House Advisory Panel on Space Policy. A member of the UT faculty since 1989, Glenn received the Harold C. Warner Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award in 1991, and the W. Allen Separk Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award in 1998. Forbes made him part of The Web Celeb 25 in 2007.
Glenn authored Weblogs and journalism: Back to the future?, Nanotechnology and Regulatory Policy: Three Futures, Kids, Guns, and the Commerce Clause: Is the Court Ready for Constitutional Government?, A Critical Guide to the Second Amendment, Is Democracy Like Sex?, and Virtual Realities and Virtual Welters: A Note on the Commerce Clause Implications of Regulating Cyberporn, and coauthored Sex and the Interstate Commerce Clause, The Evolving Police Power: Some Observations for a New Century, The Proper Scope of the Copyright and Patent Power, and Space Resources, Common Property, and the Collective Action Problem.
Glenn earned his B.A. at the University of Tennessee in 1982 and his J.D. at Yale University in 1985.