Today, to talk about technology is to talk about privacy. How much of our lives should be documented? To whom should that documentation be available? How can we adequately protect the long trail of digital artifacts we are all constantly producing? All of these questions were pertinent before the Great Summer of NSA Revelations, and they are only more so now.
So perhaps it makes sense that when San Francisco's fire chief Joanne Hayes-White decided to remind her department of its ban on helmet cameras*, the reason she reached for was "privacy." Everybody wants to protect privacy, right? And so she said, "There comes a time that privacy of the individual is paramount, of greater importance than having a video."
Hayes-White, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, highlighted this bad following the death of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan in the Asiana plane crash last month. Footage from a helmet cam filmed during the incident shows that battalion chief Mark Johnson did not know that Ye was lying on the ground near the plane wreck, covered in fire-retardant foam, when she was run over by a fire-department rig. The San Mateo County coroner has concluded that Ye was alive when she was struck; the San Francisco Police Department is investigating her death and has a copy of the tape, according to the Chronicle.