Once in a while, there are Ethicist columns in the NY Times Magazine that are immediate classics. Like yesterday's column, in particular the second item about an item found on the subway:
I found a video camera on the subway. I could not get to lost and found that day, and the manufacturer had no record of the owner. When my mother lost a camera, the finder located her by viewing the pictures. Trying to do the same, I saw that this camera was used to look up women’s skirts on the subway. I was shocked! The police said that they couldn’t do anything. I don’t want to return it to the owner. Should I erase the footage and donate it to a school? M.H., New York
Randy Cohen has what we think is some sage advice.
It would be another matter had the camera been used to shoot something erotic and shocking and consensual: you may not thwart what is voluntary and benign. But this up-skirt epic intrudes on the unwary. If the authorities decline to act, as they did, you may seek alternatives. Here’s one approach: Announce your discovery on Craigslist or similar lost-and-found sites: “Found: One video camera used to shoot up women’s skirts. Will return to owner, whom I will photograph, posting his picture on this site and on lampposts throughout the city.” Then, when the camera’s owner fails to step forward (and he won’t show up, of course, out of embarrassment), give it to a school.
And we're not surprised the police couldn't do anything, because they sometimes don't like to get involved, but wouldn't it have been interesting if someone called up the police or MTA Lost & Found to say they lost a camera on the subway? We wonder if the police would have been able to press charges - video voyeurism is a felony!