December 22, 2005

"When this old world starts getting me down..."

"And people are just too much for me to face..." The Drifters sang some pretty words, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, back in simpler times.
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it's peaceful as can be
And there the world below can't bother me
Let me tell you now

When I come home feelin' tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet (up on the roof)
I get away from the hustling crowd
And all that rat-race noise down in the street (up on the roof)
On the roof, the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let's go up on the roof (up on the roof)

At night the stars put on a show for free
And, darling, you can share it all with me

I keep a-tellin' you

Right smack dab in the middle of town
I've found a paradise that's trouble proof (up on the roof)
And if this world starts getting you down
There's room enough for two
Up on the roof (up on the roof)
Up on the roo-oo-oof (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, baby (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, honey (up on the roof)

Everything is all right (up on the roof)
Oh no, it's not. These days:
A man and woman who shared an intimate moment on a secluded, dark rooftop one August night last year have learned that they were secretly watched, an intrusion made possible by increased police surveillance of protest rallies and other events and also by advanced technology intended to fight terrorists.

That night, police officers tracked bicycle riders moving through the streets of the Lower East Side from a custom-built, $9.8 million helicopter equipped with optical equipment able to display a license plate 1,000 feet away.

With the night vision of the helicopter's camera, and permission to make videotapes, an officer also recorded nearly four minutes of the couple on the terrace of a Second Avenue penthouse.

"When you watch the tape, it makes you feel kind of ill," said Jeffrey Rosner, 51, one of the two people. "I had no idea they were filming me - who would ever have an idea like that?"....

High above Second Avenue, they seemed to be shielded from view by a wall of shrubs and the nearly total darkness. The police camera, however, included special thermal-imaging equipment that yielded distinct, if ghostly, images.

And won't it happen, soon enough, that the thermal-imaging will allow them to shoot an image through the roof? Or are they already doing that? Maybe you ought to move the bed down to the first floor.

IN THE COMMENTS: I'm told this story has been in the news before and reminded that the bigger story is the one that accompanies it: "New York Police Covertly Join In at Protest Rallies." Well, you know, I blog about what catches my eye as I flip through the day's NYT, so this choice of topic says something embarrassing about me, I suppose.


Icepick said...

I don't know about being able to take distinct and good thermal images through a roof, but thermal imaging is used to catch people who set up greenhouses inside houses for the purpose of growing marijuana.

These greenhouses are often stored in basements, so when the imaging gets good enough to look through the roof, it won't matter if your bedroom is on the first floor, basement or whatever. Now in a truly big building, like an apartment block in Manhattan, it will probably be tough to get images from deep inside the building, just too much "noise".

The real problem is that it is almost impossible to "hide" heat signals. The best option for privacy would be to have a heat source of sufficient mass between yourself and the potential viewer. The guys in the white coats will probably solve that problem eventually, though.

Basically, no one has any expectation of privacy anymore, whether they like it or not.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

That story about the couple being spied on was reported at least a year ago...why is it making news again?

Art said...

Dave asks: "Why now?"

He asks, I suspect, because he's trying to perpetuate the meme that the NY Times is out to get the President.
(This would be the same NY Times that sat on the NSA story during the last election)
The reason it's in the news is the disclosure that this is the same NYPD that was sending its members into protest rallys.
They were then attacking their own plant...and arresting other participants when they defended against what appeared to be an unprovoked action.
This is right out of the KGB's playbook. The pieces are starting to fit together.

((In the spirit of the holidays, I'll relieve the responders of their burden.

"The only people making a stink about this are the ACLU minions who are out to destroy Christmas."

You can now take the day off.

Ann Althouse said...

Sippican: We'll find out. He's suing.

Icepick: Under the Supreme Court case, Kyllo, they need a warrant before they can do that.

Art: Yes, I should have linked to the other story too. Shows what tends to catch my attention. Dave: I don't remember seeing the story before, but maybe I've just forgotten. I may have even blogged about it.

Verification word: fings.

Pastor_Jeff said...

So I guess "Under the Boardwalk" won't work either?

Dave said...

Art: Your assertions are idiotic and unfounded.

wildaboutharrie said...

"Provided with images from the tape, the Police Department's chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, did not dispute that they showed officers at work but said that disguised officers had always attended such gatherings - not to investigate political activities but to keep order and protect free speech."

chuck b. said...

Mark me down as believing people should expect privacy having sex high above Second Avenue on a roof in the darkness shielded by shrubs. (I hope it was good sex.)

I can understand a quick recon or something, but to train one's camera on the scene for four minutes? That's Howard Stern-like behaviour unsuitable for a public servant working on public time.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chuck b. said...

(Although I suppose the rendering of "ghostly images" imparts some anonymity, and that anonymity may restore some privacy. But still.)

Dave said...

The couple spied on by the police were not having sex; they were kissing.

Nevertheless, it does seem a gross abuse of police powers to spy on people kissing in public.

Harkonnendog said...

Having sex is like swimming in the ocean. People don't realize it, but anytime you are in the ocean there are sharks around. If you knew it you wouldn't go in.
I figure millions of people are seen having sex every day. Whether you're talking peeping toms, people who just happen to look in the wrong window at the right time, whatever... If you knew you wouldn't do it.
So just be glad you don't know, you know?