Belmont Club

Long Live the Digital Revolution

The digital revolution has left no part of the world untouched. But each country has adopted technology in its own particular way. In the Philippines cellphones are used to transfer small sums of money among criminal gangs. In Boston phone cameras were used to track terrorists down. And all over the world millions of abstracted people are glued to their smart phones and tablets making their dates, finding their way or just watching stuff. But in some countries the digital revolution has taken a particular form. Russia for example, is the world capital of the dash cam video.

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The question is why.

“Dash cams turn out to be nearly indispensable for Russian drivers.” Law enforcement is so corrupt in Russia and crime so prevalent that by general assent the dash cam has been nominated the most objective witness available.

It’s an interesting example of how a society without any trusted institutions creates a web of collateral information that essentially relies on a the correlation of distributed, unrelated sensors. When nobody is trusted, then trust nobody.

Lax law enforcement has also made is easier for organized crime to make millions from insurance scams. It’s a straightforward racket — crashes can be staged, or already damaged cars presented as evidence of a crash that never even occurred. The perpetrators can certainly produce witnesses that corroborate their version of events.

These scams became so common that Russian auto insurance companies have started denying claims with little reason. … the Russian civil code allows judges a ton of latitude in determining what evidence can be presented in court. Eyewitness testimony can be offered, but it is rarely given much weight because of the myriad of issues discussed above. Dash cams won’t lie, so you really need one to have any hope of winning a case.

So without further ado, Russia presents — the dash cam.

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And from Aristide.

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