Oh, and he didn’t do it because he was looking for drugs.
That was his original claim (1).
Armando Gonzalez, a supervisor at the Chula Vista Border Patrol station in California, told agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that he planted the camera in the ladies’ room to conduct a drug investigation of one of his female employees.
That would be creepy enough, wouldn’t it? After all, if he suspected a female employee of using drugs on the job, or trafficking, or padding her underwear with them, there would be other legitimate ways to conduct an investigation to discover whether or not that was actually taking place.
Wouldn’t there be?
How Legitimate Drug Investigations Are Conducted
For instance, Gonzalez could have reported the alleged drug investigation of his female employee to an official U.S. law enforcement agency that conducts such investigations and that organization could have sent an undercover agent to work as an employee of Border Patrol to tease out the truth from Miss Alleged Drug Peddler (2).
It’s not that video cameras are never used in drug investigations. They actually are. It’s called surveillance. But those methods are usually conducted by a legitimate drug enforcement agency under the watchful eye of bureaucratic supervision, not by supervisors.
Even if those supervisors are trained in surveillance techniques, the fact that there would be no check against the potential abuse of authority and government equipment itself suggests that such techniques are illegitimate.
Of course, Gonzalez would know that.
He would also know that using surveillance equipment to spy on unsuspecting ladies in an area where privacy is expected is not only creepy but illegal. Which would explain why he didn’t own up to it initially.
What Was He Really Going To Do With Those Videos?
There are only two reasons men spy on women in private areas: Personal satisfaction or money.
Most men like to look at naked women. Most of us wouldn’t appreciate another man eyeing up our sisters or mothers, so those of us who find that a bit on the creepy side make a point not to do it to other men’s sisters or mothers.
Self-discipline. It’s a basic building block of moral decency. Men who spy on women for personal jollies don’t have it. Like Bill Clinton and that cigar thing—call it a weakness or a personal character flaw, but it happens.
What’s a little less forgiving is the motivation of spying on women for monetary gain. This happens when scoundrels walk around looking for upskirt opportunities with their cell phones so can they can sell the videos to porn sites. Creepy? Yes. But it isn’t necessarily illegal (3).
On the other hand, some states are making it illegal (4).
Unlike cases where a woman is in a public place and expectations of privacy may be questionable, a public restroom is a place where a person could reasonably expect to have some privacy. The law has actually addressed that issue and has affirmed that it is reasonable for a person to expect freedom from “surreptitious surveillance” in a public restroom (which should make you wonder about Gonzalez’ false confession) (5).
What caught my eye about Gonzalez’ activity is not that he planted a hidden spy camera in the women’s restroom to catch a peak at that which he had no right to see. (Men have been looking through peepholes for centuries.) Rather, he held onto the videos and used a MacBook to “edit” them.
Why on earth would he edit them? That doesn’t sound like something a man merely seeking to satisfy his undisciplined jollies would spend his time doing (not that I would know). It sounds like something a man might do if he intended to sell them.
Unfortunately, the FBI press release announcing Gonzalez’ guilt doesn’t mention any motive. What it does mention is a canned condemnation of “violation of trust and common decency” by an FBI special agent, the same people who can tap anyone’s cell phone any where for any reason (6).
References & Image Credits:
(1) Federal Bureau of Investigation
(2) Police Magazine
(3) LA Times
(5) Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly
(6) How Many Sting Ray Fake Cell Phone Towers Are In Your Area?