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Illicit gridiron surveillance may land Patriots in hot water

Published by Jennifer on September 11, 2007 8:25 AM

Watching game footage is one of the most important strategies for football teams - it allows them to predict offensive and defensive moves, prepare strategies and anticipate the cohesiveness of their opponent. So important is the footage of opponent games that teams often hire cameramen to film the games for future research. One cameraman, however, may be in trouble for recording too much.

The NFL is investigating a cameraman for the New England Patriots after a suspected spying incident during a game against the New York Jets on Sunday. According to NFL regulations, cameras and other recording devices are strictly verboten in coaches booths, on the field, or in locker rooms during game play, and allegations have been made that a Patriots employee may have been performing illicit surveillance on the Jets during game play - a move that can be classified as cheating. It's speculated that the employee, who has been accused of spying in the past, was trying to record signals between coaches and players in an attempt to decode their communications.

The ethical issues raised in this case are obvious - not just for the teams, but for the future of surveillance and recording. As video surveillance technology becomes more efficient and advanced, how will this type of illicit surveillance be contained? Until then, officials are investigating further into the Patriots case, and team representatives are silent on the issue.

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