Public webcam helps Indian government office stay honest


Words like “transparency” and “accountability” get thrown around far too often in American politics — too often because they mean next to nothing. If the average citizen wants to check in on what a particular politician, official or government office is doing, they are at the mercy of those in power to open the doors.

Faced with a similar problem — as well as rampant kickbacks and other such corruption — Oommen Chandy, a top governmental official in India, decided to take drastic action: he installed webcams in his office and chamber, and posted the live feeds online for everyone to see.

“Instead of taking action against corruption, I believe that we have to create an atmosphere where everything should be in a transparent way,” said Chandy in an interview with The New York Times. “The people must know everything.”

Mr. Chandy currently works as the chief minister of Kerala state, which holds similar duties to that of an American governor.

The video is viewable right on the homepage of the official Kerla stat chief executive website. According to the Times, the video had been viewed a total of about 300,000 times, as of Friday. For comparison, Kerla has a total population of more than 33.3 million people.

Alas, it’s doubtful that the presence of the webcam itself will prevent any corruption — at least not in the same way a security camera at a retail store might prevent shoplifting. Instead, the act of installing the webcam serves as a political gesture, which can, in turn, promote an atmosphere of honesty and transparency in government.

US President Barack Obama has also made attempts to add transparency to the federal government — though he hasn’t yet go so far as to install a live feed in the Oval Office. The Recovery.gov website, for example, allows citizens to see how the recovery dollars are spent, and also to report any potential fraud, waste or abuse of the funds.

Something tells us this won’t easily catch on in the US. But thanks to Mr. Chandy, the idea’s out there, and it’s only a matter of time before the American public begins to demand the true transparency our current technology allows.

Social Media

Some major Facebook investors want to oust Zuckerberg after scandals

After multiple scandals, Facebook investors are proposing founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg leave his position as chairman. The group says that making the position independent would remove Zuckerberg's "unchecked corporate power."
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.

Microsoft co-founder, Seahawks owner Paul Allen dies at 65

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died on October 15 of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The cancer survivor was best known for his entrepreneurial spirit and his frequent contributions to charities.

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.

Your ‘Do Not Track’ tool might be helping websites track you, study says

New research from the "Do Not Track" features embedded in popular browsers are being ignored, opening up the possibility of consumers having their information targeted by specific ads based on their web histories and cookies. 

How to recover Google contacts

If you accidentally deleted an important person from your Google Contacts, they might not be lost forever. Recovering them is a fairly easy process -- as long as you do it quickly. Here's how.

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.

Don't take your ISP's word for it: Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.

Feed your fandom: These are the best YouTube channels for sports lovers

If you're a cable cutter who still wants to enjoy quality sports highlights and analysis, YouTube is the place to go. There are plenty of great sports-centric channels on YouTube, each of which provides great highlights and top-shelf…
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.

Chrome 70 is now available and won’t automatically log you in to the browser

Google has officially launched Chrome version 70 on Windows Mac and Linux. The update introduces some new Progressive Web App integrations on Windows 10 and also tweaks the much controversial auto login with Google Account feature.
Smart Home

Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Pantry

The marvels of the Internet have made it possible to do all your shopping from the comfort of your living room. Amazon Prime Pantry allows you to buy groceries and household items online. Here's more info about the service.