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WASHINGTON- In an "off-the-record" conversation with reporters, President Barack Obama unveiled a plan to distribute traffic cameras in moderately populated residential and commercial areas in order to 'monitor' the people who live and work there.
The conversation was leaked to CNR this afternoon. "People drive fast, people drive poorly, and people die," the President said in the discussion. "But we now have cameras at traffic lights to prevent this and catch those who break the law. But we could do so much more.
"Think about the possibilities if we expand the traffic cameras. At every light, we could monitor bad drivers and at every light we can lower crime. The possibilities are large."
The President then paused. "But even those possibilities are short-sighted. If we are able to improve the technology behind these surveillance devices, we can observe anyone. Anyone who breaks the law and everyone on the street can be viewed. The drop in crime will be astounding."
Though seen as a means to "lower crime for the good of society" by the administration, fears of a type of "Big Brother" state have grown.
Nicholas Grozny of New York told CNR that he fears being watched, regardless of whether he was committing a crime. "I go out and get groceries on the corner of Fifth and Elm," Grozny said. "There's a light with a camera right where the streets merge. I just can't imagine going out to buy some vegetables and having a surveillance device watching everything I do. This isn't the America that I grew up in."
Despite concerns from citizens, the administration released a statement defending its decision.
In the release, the Obama administration cited "rising crime in metropolitan areas" and a "need to save money" as reasons why the cameras were needed. The document digresses, "With an increase in cameras, law enforcement can monitor criminals and civilians cheaply and effectively without putting their officers in harm's way."
The President did not respond to CNR's request for a statement.