New York City Mayor Eric Adams Wants You to Love Big Brother
There’s a common type of government official who sincerely believes the world would be better and their suffering subjects much happier if the restraints were removed and politicians were free to act as they wish. That their sincere belief in their goodness is exactly why we need those restraints always escapes them. The latest example of the breed is New York City Mayor Eric Adams who, unironically, urges his constituents to embrace the surveillance state because “Big Brother is protecting you.”
Adams, a former police officer who took office at the beginning of 2022, has made an issue of crime in the city, which is rising following pandemic-era disruptions to society after decades of decline. He returned to crime last week in an interview with Politico‘s Sally Goldenberg and Joe Anuta:
Adams promised an expansion of technology-assisted policing to detect weapons. Over the past year, he has promoted the use of cameras and lauded divisive facial recognition devices.
“It blows my mind how much we have not embraced technology, and part of that is because many of our electeds are afraid. Anything technology they think, ‘Oh it’s a boogeyman. It’s Big Brother watching you,'” Adams said. “No, Big Brother is protecting you.”
This isn’t the first time that Adams has invoked surveillance as the cure for crime concerns. Last January, his office issued a “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” and the mayor vowed that “from facial recognition technology to new tools that can spot those carrying weapons, we will use every available method to keep our people safe.” But now Mayor Adams is openly belittling concerns about the surveillance state and urging city residents to learn to love Big Brother. At no time has he acknowledged that Big Brother might be a sketchy character, or that his former colleagues at the NYPD have an unfortunate history of abusing surveillance powers—a history that the city’s own government acknowledges.
“The NYPD’s surveillance of individuals and organizations perceived as enemies of the status quo dates back to early 1900s,” notes a 2019 article published by the New York City Department of Records & Information Services. “At different periods, the focus was on anarchists, labor leaders, Nazi supporters, white supremacists, socialists, and communists.”
Controversy over decades of surveillance led to litigation and the 1985 Handschu Guidelines, which created a mixed panel of civilians and police to oversee future surveillance.
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