香山リカのココロの万華鏡:招きたくない監視社会 /東京

August 24, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Publically shaming criminals online is going too far
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:招きたくない監視社会 /東京

Recently, a comic store generated controversy with a threat to publically release the image of a shoplifter's face who was caught on a security camera stealing an expensive figurine. The store first released an image of the shoplifter with his face pixelated and threatened to remove the pixilation if the person did not return the figurine by a certain day.

In the end, at the urging of police, the store did not remove the pixilation. However, in on-the-street interviews on television shows, many people gave the opinion that the pixilation should have been removed, to help deter future shoplifters.

Crime is said to be overall on the decline, but shoplifting numbers refuse to fall. Perhaps lacking awareness that what they have done is a crime, some shoplifters supposedly take a defiant attitude, saying, "As long as I return it, there's no problem, right?"

Some small retailers are supposedly affected quite badly by shoplifting, so it is not a problem that can be overlooked.  経営に大きな支障が出る小売店もあるというから、見逃せない問題だ。

However, we must be careful about the idea that a store can set up its own "punishment," by for example threatening to release a photo of a shoplifter's face.

In this day and age, using the Internet one can easily find all kinds of information about a person -- their name, their address, their place of work.
It can lead to ruining a person's standing in society.

While the theft in the recent case was of a very valuable item, is it right for stores to be able to decide that when the value of shoplifted merchandise is over some particular amount it warrants a public release of the shoplifter's photo?

Sometimes on the Internet, people will release photos of criminals, taken while they happened to be nearby.

"This person is a groper," they may write, releasing a photo on a site such as Twitter.

I feel that more and more, the reaction to this public exposure is not "that's going too far," but "they deserve it."

Of course, no matter the reason, there is no excuse for breaking the law or other rules.

But I also think that stores -- who are not police -- should not come up with and deal out their own "punishments." しかし、警察以外の個人や店の手により、どんな“罰”を加えても許されるというのは違うと思う。

While public exposure on the Internet is not a direct punishment like a fine or prison sentence, it is in some ways a heavier punishment.

According to police statistics, recently many shoplifters are people 65 and over.

Maybe, having retired or no longer having any family, they think, "I have nothing left to lose, so I don't care who you report me to.

You're going to put my face out on the Internet? I don't care." If so, it is a sad situation.
ネットで顔を“さらす”? ああ、かまいませんよ」という心境なのだろうか。それも寂しい話だ。

I hope that we do not become a world where people are always observing each other, quick to photograph and expose other people on the Internet the moment they do something wrong.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2014年08月19日 地方版

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