Surveillance Cameras Everywhere!
Dec. 2012 -
Big Brother Street Lights (Intellistreets) Coming To Spy On American
Chicago: Police State Ground Zero!
2011—A giant web of video-surveillance cameras has spread across
Chicago, aiding police in the pursuit of criminals but raising fears
that the City of Big Shoulders is becoming the City of Big Brother.
Hell Is Coming To A City Near You!
By David J. Stewart
There is now a 15-year minimum-mandatory prison-term law in Chicago for any citizen who audio or video tapes a police officer. So basically now the Jackboot thug police can abuse citizens and get away with it. This is the new Hitlarian-fascist-style Police State! It's no coincidence that Israeli gangster Rahm Immanuel was appointed as mayor of Chicago.
If the Lord Jesus tarries His return for another 25 to 50 years, you'll see protesting citizens executed nationwide in the United States, just as in Communist regimes over the past two centuries. It will make the Soviet gulag camps look like a Sunday picnic. Homeland Security has purchased 1,600,000,000 hollow-tipped bullets just in 2011-2012. What are they getting ready for? The answer is war with the American people when our economy implodes due to the blatant theft of the U.S. economy through reckless debt-spending/ borrowing; thus, making the banksters filthy rich (they were already morally filthy, now they're also immorally rich). Hell will be hot enough. This earthly life isn't even a speck of dust compared to eternity. Their day of reckoning is fast-approaching, thank God!
Elaborate Camera Network To Watch Chicago
September 09, 2004
Mayor Richard Daley plans to use more than 2,000
cameras across Chicago to act as hundreds of eyes that can catch
suspicious scenes and alert officials to a possible terror strike. It
will be like having police stationed at scores of potential trouble
Chicago Goes High-Tech with Cameras, Biochemical Sensors
$53 million to be spent on fiber-optic network that will connect cameras and biochemical sensors to watch for signs of terrorism
Using $53 million from a cable company settlement, Chicago will create a fiber-optic grid almost 1,000 miles long with cameras and biochemical sensors to watch for signs of terrorism, crime and traffic tie-ups, city officials announced Thursday.
The new system, dubbed the Homeland Security Grid, will include "a significant increase in the quantity" of surveillance cameras pointed at public spaces across the city, said Ron Huberman, executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Last September, Mayor Richard Daley said the city would add 250 cameras to more than 2,000 already in use, making it the largest video surveillance system of its kind in the world.
The new effort, to be completed in 18 months, will add even more cameras, made possible by cable operator RCN's providing the city with 388 miles of fiber-optic cable, Huberman said.
RCN's cable will be linked to more than 600 miles owned by the city and sister agencies to create "one seamless grid" that will be monitored at the city's 911 center. It also will link police, fire, school and other government communication systems.
Many of the new cameras will be along the lakefront and Lake Shore Drive, monitoring parks, water filtration plants and popular public venues like Navy Pier. Thirty-two miles of lakefront from Evanston to Chicago's southern edge will be wired into the new system.
Some critics have said the city's use of surveillance cameras is eerily similar to tactics employed by governments that control every aspect of people's lives in George Orwell's "1984."
"We question whether cameras provide the kind of security boost they credit to them," said Ed Yohnka, Chicago spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union. He called for a dialogue on "whether the public thinks these cameras are appropriate."
He cited a 2003 ACLU report that concluded a "dark potential" lurks in proliferating monitoring systems. "If we do not take steps to control and regulate surveillance to bring it into conformity with our values, we will find ourselves being tracked, analyzed, profiled and flagged in our daily lives to a degree we can scarcely imagine today," the report stated.
Huberman said the city is keenly aware of the Orwellian angst. Chicago, The Town God WILL Shut Down!
"The city is always concerned about not having the perception that the city is acting as Big Brother," he said. "These cameras always are strictly pointed only in the public way. So we're looking at the streets, alleys, sidewalks and open park space.
"The individuals who view these cameras have all gone through 1st and 4th Amendment training," he added. "Our protocols are very strict. We watch this very, very carefully to ensure, going forward, that we are focusing these cameras purely on what we need them for, which is traffic and public safety."
He also said the city has seen a "really dramatic improvement and statistical reductions in crime in areas where these cameras have been deployed." Some critics, however, have argued that the presence of cameras just pushes crime to new areas.
Use of surveillance cameras to detect crime, terrorism and traffic jams is a growing trend worldwide, with an extensive system in London. Cook County is using a $34 million federal homeland security grant for a new system that in part gives public safety officials greater video surveillance abilities.
Biological, chemical and radiological sensors designed to warn the city of a terrorist attack before it's visible or results in illness also will be installed, Huberman added. Some already exist, but the additions and tie-in to an "incredibly powerful grid" will greatly improve the city's capabilities, he said.
Huberman declined to identify the type of sensors or the numbers of new cameras and sensors that will be installed. "We never want a would-be terrorist or would-be criminal to be able to figure out how to reverse-engineer, or figure out our system, and then try to defeat it," he said.
In addition to early detection of terrorist attacks, the system will be used to look for criminal activity, help the city manage disasters and even allow traffic monitors to change street-light timing to reduce traffic backups, Huberman said.
"It provides a virtual shield for the city of Chicago," Huberman said.
Announcement of the Homeland Security Grid came a day after Daley proposed to the City Council a $53 million settlement with RCN, which failed to live up to its city franchise agreement by not expanding its services. RCN emerged from bankruptcy in December.
To satisfy the settlement, RCN will provide to the city 388 miles of underground fiber-optic cables for 75 years, mostly along the city's lakefront, said Norma Reyes, commissioner of consumer services. That cable is valued at $31 million, she said.
RCN, which has pledged to maintain that cable for the agreement's duration, is expected to spend $17.5 million to maintain and upgrade that cable over the next five years, Reyes said. RCN also will make a $4.5 million payment to the city's general fund and, beyond the settlement amount, a $2 million payment to Chicago Access Network Television.
The new cable will augment about 600 miles owned by the city and sister agencies. The city cable all will be linked before the new cable is connected, Huberman said.
To add new cameras and link the entire system over the next 18 months, the city will spend about $5 million it obtained through federal homeland security grants, Huberman said.
"One of the areas that the RCN fiber agreement has given us is great penetration along the Chicago lakefront," he said. "This is a very significant increase of cameras along the Chicago lakefront and along Lake Shore Drive."
If the city had installed the system on its own, it would have spent $100 million, Huberman said.
2,000 Cameras To Watch City
Nov 16, 2004
11:13 am US/Central
The new system will
allow emergency workers to receive instant real time video and audio
information from 2,000 cameras and microphones stationed around the city.
The system won’t be fully operational until spring.
Baltimore expands use of surveillance cameras
Posted 12/2/2004 4:55 AM
BALTIMORE (AP) — The city's network of 24-hour surveillance cameras monitoring the Inner Harbor will be expanded to cover three high-crime areas and the Canton waterfront, officials said Wednesday.
The cameras are part of a regional homeland security initiative announced in June. They eventually will be part of a surveillance network spanning five counties and stretching from the Inner Harbor to the Bay Bridge.
The $3 million addition that the city Board of Estimates announced Wednesday is aimed more at criminals than at terrorists and is being financed mostly by proceeds seized from drug dealers and not by homeland security grants.
But when the patchwork of cameras and monitoring rooms is linked, the proposed Baltimore regional system could be one of the most extensive surveillance systems in the nation, according to officials at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the Baltimore network, saying the camera system infringes on privacy rights and is ineffective in fighting crime or terrorism.
"Americans have a real strong sense of privacy rights and are really offended by efforts to breach those rights," said Stacey Mink, a spokeswoman for ACLU of Maryland. "The money would be better spent on police on the streets."
City officials say the cameras will monitor only public spaces.
Once the terms of a deal are negotiated, Tele-Tector of Maryland will install 74 cameras that will provide 24-hour surveillance in three high-crime neighborhoods. Each system will be monitored by light-duty officers and community volunteers at police districts. A separate contract needs to be negotiated for the Canton camera system.
"We're talking about 20 square blocks that account for 6% of the total violent crime in the city," acting Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm said.
The Downtown Partnership's network of 80 cameras, which are reviewed periodically but not monitored, led to a 25% reduction in crime from 2001 to 2002, the most recent years that data were available, spokesman Mike Evitts said.
Community activist Naomi Hines said she welcomes the cameras in her Park Heights neighborhood, which she said is overrun by drug dealers.
"They might just go on the side streets to deal," said Hines, who has lived in the area for 33 years. "You run them from one place, and they go to another place."
But, she added, "It's worth trying."
In June, the city announced that it was building a network of about 80 cameras in downtown's west side and in the Inner Harbor that would be able to connect to the state's system of closed-circuit cameras that monitor highways. Eventually, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties and Annapolis would plug their systems into the city's hub.
Philadelphia police will see how Chicago uses video surveillance
Philadelphia's police commissioner is going to send a team to Chicago to
gather information about that police department's use of video
Critics say the cameras will also widen the divisions between police and the public and violate privacy.
An official with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says the cameras capture "not just what bad people do" but what all of us do.
He says we "have a right, until we've done something wrong, to walk around and do what we want."
The police commissioner disagrees, saying "if Big Brother can stop crime and violence, that's exactly what we need."
Interstate 95 To Get Security Cameras
Computers Will Scan For Suspicious Activity
CONCORD, N. H. -- Gov. John Lynch and the Executive Council approved a Homeland Security grant Friday to put security cameras on the Interstate 95 bridge between New Hampshire and Maine.
The decision had been delayed after councilors raised questions in January about who would monitor the cameras.
Michael Burlage, of the state Department of Transportation, told councilors the digital camera images will go to several different places, including security officials at the Pease International Trade port.
At Pease, a special computer system will trigger an alarm if objects are seen in restricted areas, he said.
The computer also can be programmed to trigger a response to other potential hazards, for example if a vehicle parks near a major bridge support.
The cameras would monitor bridge traffic, the underside of the bridge and the Piscataqua River channel used by oil and natural gas tankers.
"We've had bomb threats on all three of the bridges into Maine," Transportation Commissioner Carol Murray said. Having the security cameras will allow people to review digital images rather than send people out onto the bridge to look or possible bombs if it happens again, she said.
Neighborhood WatchCam and Homeland SecureCam To Watch Over New Orleans
Solectek today announces a partnership with Active Solutions to deploy wireless video camera and remote vehicle access networks for the City of New Orleans Police Department. Solectek's SkyWay 5000 Multipoint System is coupled with Active Solution's Neighborhood WatchCam(TM) security camera solutions in a city-wide security camera network. In addition, the network will be used to backhaul electronics citation services as well as provide remote access for mobile data terminals used in police vehicles.
Video surveillance has become the latest weapon for law enforcement agencies to fight crime and terrorism. With the emergence of the Neighborhood WatchCam(TM) and its ability to connect directly to the power grid, IP-based network cameras can be easily deployed at strategic locations with video images streamed to a central monitoring station.
Camera placement is often challenging due to the difficulties in network wiring provisions. Wireless backhaul eliminates the problem altogether. "Wireless solutions are making huge inroads into remote video applications. We now have sufficient bandwidth to carry a large number of high resolution video streams, even for installations without line-of-sight to the monitoring center," says Dr. Eric Lee, CEO of Solectek.
Active Solutions, who builds and deploys the Neighborhood WatchCam(TM) and its bullet-resistant big brother, the Homeland SecureCam(TM), chose to work with Solectek's 5.8GHz SkyWay 5000 Systems to provide its wireless backhaul. "The Solectek SkyWay 5000 system was the best choice of wireless systems currently available on the market. We found that their system significantly outperformed other wireless systems in the important criteria for wireless video. It offers a unique combination of high bandwidth, ease of deployment, weatherproof construction and NLOS capability for difficult installations. We have been very successful in integrating their system with our camera solutions," says Iggie Perrin, Vice President of Active Solutions.
Using a two-tier, macro/micro cell approach, Active Solutions has designed multiple, local networks for the cameras using Solectek SkyWay 5000 Multipoint Systems to backhaul all video feeds to the central monitoring station. Initial macro cells were deployed in high crime areas of New Orleans in October of 2004, using 3 multipoint networks and almost 30 streaming, network cameras. Solectek systems not only provided sufficient bandwidth for high-resolution images, but also added crucial NLOS capabilities for most camera locations. A total of 240 cameras should be in service in New Orleans by the end of 2005.
Surveillance Cameras Sprouting Up All Over Central Texas
Watch yourself in public places in Central Texas. New electronic eyes are popping up in spots you haven't even considered.
The government has them. Restaurants and shops have them too.
Surveillance cameras are going up everywhere often without your knowledge.
The government is making sure, soon you won't be able to get away with anything especially on Central Texas streets.
You can find them almost anywhere in alarm clocks, pagers, smoke detectors, motion detectors, ceilings and doorways. Little eyes watching you.
"We were able to see you drive up in the front parking lot. Actually approach the front door and come into the office today," Matt Vickers with Dyezz Surveillance said.
Vickers installs cameras all over Austin. Many of which you'd never have a chance to notice.
"The camera's designed to catch anyone coming into our business. So, that's literally a pinhole camera? All it looks like is a tiny hole in the ceiling that nobody would notice," Vickers said.
It's not just in front of private businesses where you could be watched. Even if you're just walking down the street, chances are someone's looking at you.
A government agency has even requested revolving cameras for downtown buildings to monitor foot traffic and traffic violations.
"The city of Austin will start using cameras to be able to see if people pay their tolls on the new toll roads," Vickers said.
Bars, shops, restaurants, college campuses -- they're intended to protect, but in order to do that, they must see everything.
"If you're doing something that you shouldn't be doing in a public place, you might think twice," Vickers said.
With the Internet, you can check in on the camera's view from anywhere in the world.
"We got to the room, plugged in the laptop and boom, I could see inside the shop, and I actually caught my employee sleeping," Alex Navarro with Discount Furniture said.
"The one advantage that the camera has is that it's always on and it always has its eyes open," Vickers said.
Public buses also have security cameras inside.
In many cities, police are putting them up in high crime areas.
Some good advice per Dyezz Surveillance, if you're ever in a car accident, quickly take a look around first to see what cameras might have caught it on tape.
More Cities Deploy Camera Surveillance Systems with Federal Grant Money
President Bush's proposed $2.57 trillion federal budget for Fiscal Year 2006 greatly increases the amount of money spent on surveillance technology and programs while cutting about 150 programs—most of them from the Department of Education. EPIC's "Spotlight on Surveillance" project scrutinizes these surveillance programs.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested more than $2 billion to finance grants to state and local governments for homeland security needs. 1Some of this money is being used by state and local governments to create networks of surveillance cameras to watch over the public in the streets, shopping centers, at airports and more. 2However, studies have found that such surveillance systems have little effect on crime, and that it is more effective to place more officers on the streets and improve lighting in high-crime areas. 3There are significant concerns about citizens’ privacy rights and misuse or abuse of the system. A professor at the University of Nevada at Reno has alleged that the university used a homeland security camera system to surreptitiously watch him after he filed a complaint alleging that the university abused its research animals. 4Also, British studies have found there is a significant danger of racial discrimination and stereotyping by those monitoring the cameras. 5
Chicago has 2,250 cameras in its “Homeland Security Grid,” which DHS helped finance with a $5.1 million grant, and will be adding cameras in the next two years with funds from another $48 million grant from Homeland Security. 7By 2006, Chicago will have a 900-mile fiber-optic grid. 8The cameras are linked to a $43-million operations center constantly monitored by police officers. 9
Baltimore has used federal grants to finance its camera system and $1.3 million “Watch Center.” 10 The cameras are connected to the state’s existing highway monitoring cameras, and the plan is for five counties in Maryland – Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Hartford and Howard – to connect with the city’s surveillance system. 11
In New Orleans digital camera images are sent to a main server archive for monitoring, and the Internet-based archive can be accessed from any location, including police vehicles. 12 Cameras are currently operating in the city, but New Orleans’ extensive 1,000-camera surveillance system is expected to be fully deployed by the end of the year. 13 Paramus, N.J., is launching a pilot camera surveillance system at shopping malls that will be partially financed by federal grants. 14
Though cities are spending millions for these systems, studies have shown that they do not decrease criminal activity. Last year, a Milwaukee study found that law enforcement officials in cities such as Detroit, Mich.; Miami, Fla.; and Oakland, Calif., abandoned the use of these surveillance systems because they had little effect on crime prevention. 15
Several American cities looked to Great Britain’s surveillance system when developing their own. London has 200,000 cameras, and more than 4 million cameras have been deployed throughout the country. 16 It is estimated that there is one camera for every 14 people. 17 The average Briton is seen by 300 cameras per day, according to estimates. 18 However, several studies have shown that these systems have very little effect on crime. In 2002, the British Home Office examined 22 camera surveillance systems in North America and the United Kingdom, and found that such systems had a small effect on crime. 19 It is more effective to place more officers on the streets and improve lighting in high-crime areas. 20
Studies have also shown that there is a serious risk of race discrimination with the use of camera surveillance networks. Black males are disproportionately scrutinized when such cameras systems are used. 21 The National Association for the Criminal Rehabilitation of Offenders found race discrimination in the systems and stated “[w]hen certain sections of the community are disproportionately monitored, this not only acts to portray an impression of criminality amongst these groups (certain acts are noticed whilst other groups may be carrying out the same acts unmonitored and unnoticed), it also conveys a message to these individuals that they are not trusted.” 22
There are also concerns that the homeland security camera systems will be misused or abused. The University of Nevada at Reno installed a network of 80 surveillance cameras throughout campus grounds and in school buildings with a $598,000 grant from Homeland Security in 2003. 23 Professor Hussein S. Hussein filed suit after finding that the university used a homeland security hidden camera to watch his lab after Mr. Hussein had previously found a hidden university police camera, installed inside a smoke detector, was being used to monitor his lab. 24 The university admitted installing the hidden camera, but claimed it was investigating a “potential hate crime.” 25
The University of Nevada at Reno is just one of many universities that are using camera surveillance systems, including the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Pennsylvania. 26 At the University of Northern Iowa, students protested after Cedar Falls, Iowa, installed cameras to monitor crowds gathered for Homecoming. 27
The list of places installing camera surveillance systems includes smaller towns. Cicero, Ill., (population: 83,000) plans to install several surveillance cameras, at a cost of $50,000 each, with a grant from Homeland Security. 28 A federal grant of $150,000 will help Newport, R.I., (population: 86,000) to pay for the installation of surveillance cameras. 29 St. Bernard Parish, La., (population: 66,000) spent $112,000 in federal funds for surveillance cameras. 30
EPIC has been following the growth in the use of such camera systems for years. In 2002, EPIC launched the Observing Surveillance project. 31 The project includes a map of camera locations in areas of downtown Washington, D.C., which indicates both the locations of surveillance cameras installed by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the projected surveillance radius of those cameras.
1 Department of Homeland Security, Budget-in-Brief Fiscal Year 2006, at 81-82 (Feb. 7, 2005) available at http://www.epic.org/privacy/surveillance/spotlight/0505/dhsb06.pdf
2 Marc Rotenberg and Cedric Laurant, EPIC and Privacy International, Privacy and Human Rights: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments at 102-103 (EPIC 2004) (hereinafter “PHR 2004”); available at http://www.privacyinternational.org/phr
3 See generally PHR 2004 at 95-104; Brandon C. Welsh and David P. Farrington, Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, Crime prevention effects of closed circuit television: a systematic review , Research Study 252 (Aug. 2002) (hereinafter “Home Office Study”) available at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/hors252.pdf ; National Association for the Criminal Rehabilitation of Offenders, To CCTV or not to CCTV? A review of current research into the effectiveness of CCTV systems in reducing crime (June 28, 2002) (hereinafter “NACRO Study”) available at http://www.epic.org/privacy/surveillance/spotlight/0505/nacro02.pdf
4 Frank X. Mullen Jr., UNR’s camera network raises fear , Reno Gazette-Journal, March 13, 2005.
5 NACRO Study at 4; Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong, The unforgiving Eye: CCTV surveillance in public space , Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Hull University (1997).
6 Greg Barrett, 9/11 brings a windfall for state’s spending , Baltimore Sun, Mar. 20, 2005.
7 Hal Dardick, City will keep eyes peeled big time , Chicago Tribune, Feb. 11, 2005; Fran Spielman, Feds give city $48 million in anti-terrorism funds , Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 4, 2004.
8 Hal Dardick, City will keep eyes peeled big time , Chicago Tribune, Feb. 11, 2005.
9 Fran Spielman, Feds give city $48 million in anti-terrorism funds , Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 4, 2004.
10 Greg Barrett, 9/11 brings a windfall for state’s spending , Baltimore Sun, Mar. 20, 2005.
11 Doug Donovan, 24-hour camera surveillance in city is part of bigger plan , Baltimore Sun, Jun 10, 2004.
12 Frank Donze, Crime-Time Program , Times-Picayune, Jan. 14, 2005.
14 David Porter, Expanded video surveillance planned for mall, schools , Associated Press, Jan. 13, 2005.
15 Ryan Davis, Surveillance cameras may soon be coming to a street near you , Baltimore Sun, Mar. 16, 2005.
16 Fran Spielman and Frank Main, City plans camera surveillance web , Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 10, 2004; s ee generally Privacy International, Overview: CCTV and Beyond available at http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd=x-347-65433
18 Tara Burghart, Chicago Mayor Unveils Surveillance Plan , Associated Press, Sept. 10, 2004.
19 Home Office Study at 45; PHR 2004 at 95-104.
20 Home Office Study; NACRO Study.
21 NACRO Study at 4; Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong, The unforgiving Eye: CCTV surveillance in public space , Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Hull University (1997).
22 NACRO Study at 4.
23 Frank X. Mullen Jr., UNR’s camera network raises fear , Reno Gazette-Journal, Mar. 13, 2005.
26 Jeffrey R. Young, Smile! You're on Campus Camera , Chronicle of Higher Education, June 13, 2003.
27 Jon Ericson, Protesters feel cameras invade privacy , WCF Courier, Apr. 8, 2005.
28 Matt Baron, Cameras to keep eye on Cicero , Chicago Tribune, Feb. 10, 2005.
29 Richard Salit, Newport nets aid for bridge cameras , Providence Journal, Jan. 7, 2005.
30 Mark F. Bonner, Parish gets money for street cameras , Times-Picayune, July 24, 2004.
31 EPIC, Observing Surveillance (2002) available at http://www.observingsurveillance.org/
Coming to your neighborhood in VA: Surveillance cameras
Town Talk | June 16, 2005
Cameras Put Police Ears to the Ground
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Police installed video surveillance cameras around town and saw Chicago's murder rate fall to its lowest level in four decades. Now the cops hope to further cut crime by not only watching, but listening, too.
The city is employing new technology that recognizes the sound of a gunshot within a two-block radius, pinpoints the source, turns a surveillance camera toward the shooter and places a 911 call.
Welcome to crime-fighting in the 21st century.
"Instead of just having eyes, you have the advantage of both eyes and ears," said Bryan Baker, chief executive of Safety Dynamics LLC, the company in suburban Oak Brook that makes the systems.
The technology isn't just gaining favor in Chicago, where 30 of the devices have already been installed in high-crime neighborhoods alongside video surveillance cameras. Baker says dozens more installations will follow.
In Los Angeles County, the sheriff's department plans to deploy 20 units in a pilot test, and officials in Tijuana, Mexico, recently bought 353 units, Baker said. Police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and San Francisco, California, are close to launching test programs of their own, and New Orleans, Louisiana, and Atlanta, Georgia, also have made inquiries.
Some U.S. troops in Iraq already have a similar system that works differently. Designed quickly in late 2003 and early 2004 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and BBN Technologies Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a detector known as "Boomerang" can be mounted on the back of a moving vehicle to locate hostile gunfire.
The Safety Dynamics system deployed in Chicago, known formally as Smart Sensor Enabled Neural Threat Recognition and Identification -- or SENTRI -- uses four microphones to triangulate, or zero in, on the shooter.
By contrast, the Boomerang has sensors mounted atop a pole that detect shock and sound waves from a muzzle blast.
In Chicago, police hope the SENTRI system will add momentum to a technology-fueled crackdown on guns and gang violence.
The city in 2004 reduced its homicide rate to its lowest level since 1965 and police seized 10,000 guns -- successes that were in large part credited to a network of "pods," or remote-controlled cameras that can rotate 360 degrees and feed video directly to squad-car laptops.
The SENTRI systems are an addition to that network.
"They have been extremely successful," said Monique Bond, spokeswoman for the Chicago Office of Emergency Management. "We've been able to see the benefits that cameras and advanced technology bring to the community."
As long as the cameras and SENTRI system are set up in public spaces, they do not violate the law, said Northwestern University Law School professor Robert W. Bennett.
"You don't have much in the way of privacy issues when you're in a public area," Bennett said.
And local officials say it's hard to argue with the results.
"The crime rates in Chicago are the lowest in 40 years. The price of keeping the community safe far outweighs civil liberty issues," Bond said.
Baker stresses that SENTRI is programmed to recognize only gunshots, not record conversations or "bug" private homes.
"There's no mechanism for other sounds like human voices," he said.
SENTRI is the brainchild of Safety Dynamics and Dr. Theodore Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California.
Each SENTRI contains a library of acoustical patterns, or "sound signatures," which Berger developed over several years. They're used to differentiate gunshots from other noises, such as traffic and construction, by measuring the unique decibel level of a bullet being fired. That way, a gunshot activates the system but a car backfiring does not.
Adding SENTRI to an existing surveillance camera is not cheap, however. The system costs between $4,000 and $10,000 per unit. In Chicago, money forfeited by criminals is used to pay for both it and the accompanying cameras.
As a result, Police Superintendent Phil Cline told a recent U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, "the drug dealers are actually paying to surveillance themselves.
Security Cameras Back in Demand
It's a scenario out of a sci-fi movie: a surveillance camera that records your face, transmits the image to a database, and raises an alarm if you're a suspected terrorist, a sex offender, or a missing person.
But what if you're an Al Qaeda agent in a Groucho Marx mask?
Then it gets a little more complicated, as police in Tampa, Fla., discovered a few years ago when surveillance camera technology was a security trend. Under the FaceIt scanning program, the police scanned 100,000 unknowing fans at Raymond James Stadium during the 2001 Super Bowl. But the project was ultimately shelved, in 2003, partly because anti-surveillance activists discovered the cameras could be fooled by ski masks, bandannas, even sunglasses.
Interest in the technology never wholly faded, and now, in the wake of the London attacks and the widely publicized use of cameras to track down suspects in those incidents, some politicians in the United States are again saying it's time to seriously consider increased video surveillance. Although they eschew Tampa's complicated biometric bells and whistles in favor of simpler recording networks, the cameras are going up in New York, Baltimore, New Orleans, Chicago, and Detroit: in subway tunnels, at bus stops, on downtown promenades, and in low-income neighborhoods. With the programs comes a lively debate on security versus privacy, cost versus effectiveness, and the role of the government when it comes to protecting - and monitoring - citizens.
"People feel safer if they know an area is being watched," says Vincent Morris, a spokesman for Washington Mayor Anthony Williams, who has publicly stated his support for increasing public surveillance since the 7/7 attacks. Mr. Morris calls the cameras a necessity in a city that has already been a terrorist target and describes them as more of a deterrent than an outright preventive measure: "We've had red-light cameras here, and they cause people to slow down," he says.
Some cities are moving ahead quickly. A week after 7/7, New York announced that its Metropolitan Transit Authority would begin installing cameras in the underwater tunnels that link Manhattan to outside neighborhoods.
All of this raises the issue: Cameras that discourage drivers from running red lights are one thing. But suicide bombers, experts say, are liable to blow themselves up whether they're being recorded or not.
Still, in their investigations after 7/7 and the attempted 7/21 attacks, British law enforcement has made extensive use of surveillance tape.
"[Cameras] have huge post-incident investigation value and potential prosecution value. One of the reasons the London authorities have made the progress that they've made is because of the images they had on the camera," says Jack Riley, a crime and security expert at the RAND Corp. in Pittsburgh.
But such use alone does not make a city secure, he adds.
"I would put cameras in the same category as improved lighting, increased foot patrols, and the use of explosive-detecting dogs - as a potential deterrent."
Some civil liberties activists agree with that assessment. But they also see huge potential for abuse: a looming threat of privacy invasion and hints of a Big Brother-esque state where all public activity is recorded and analyzed.
After all, surveillance doesn't just happen in subway stations. In June 2004, the libertarian Reason magazine, using public databases, sent some 45,000 subscribers a personalized issue with a satellite image of their residence on the cover.
"We had some people cancel their subscriptions after that," says Reason editor Nick Gillespie. Ironically, the issue addressed the "upside of zero privacy" - such as ease of marketing - but that said, Mr. Gillespie doesn't shirk from criticizing a watchdog society.
While he acknowledges that footage helped the London investigations, he makes it clear: "I don't necessarily think that tells us surveillance of public areas is an unfettered good thing."
He adds, "There are TV shows in England that show outtakes from surveillance cameras. There's something weird about that. There's something creepy about that. We fundamentally have to ask ourselves, are we an open society or not?"
The European Parliament addressed such a question, in the 1998 report "An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control." Europe in general, and the United Kingdom in particular, makes heavy use of surveillance technology in public places, and the report warned against monitoring abuses that smack of totalitarian regimes.
In a section titled "Developments in Surveillance Technology," the report reads, "Much of this technology is used to track the activities of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists, student leaders, minorities, trade union leaders and political opponents."
The outlook stateside
But if abuses occur in the US, they'll occur under the auspices of a transparent system where citizens can hold authorities accountable, argues Robert Atkinson, vice president of the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington.
Mr. Atkinson says that surveillance systems, like any tool - especially law-enforcement tools like guns - can be potentially abused. But he adds that in a cost-benefit analysis, they are a cheap, efficient way to keep tabs on public spaces, which is a police officer's duty anyway.
"Put it this way: If we had the money, we could put a cop in every station," he says. "How is that different from a video surveillance system?"
Some say it is. They argue that the cameras are too impersonal yet simultaneously too intrusive. But critics and proponents agree that the issue is not really a question of equipment. It's the policy associated with the technology.
There is "a very thorny issue on what your policies and procedures are going to be when it comes to monitoring," says Mr. Riley of RAND. "If departments are smart, they're going to get out in front of this, because sooner or later they're behind it, and that's not a good place to be if you're making policy.
Big Brother To Monitor High Schools
DALLAS -- Hundreds of Dallas high school students soon will have video cameras watching over them if Dallas Independent School District officials follow through with their plan.
DISD leaders want to install surveillance cameras in 22 high schools within the district. The cameras would be placed in the hallways and some common areas of the schools.
Principals said the cameras would provide evidence during investigations of fights and other punishable incidents.
Some parents, however, don't want the cameras installed.
New Cameras to Watch Over Subway System
Officials unveiled the high-tech future of transit security in New York City yesterday: an ambitious plan to saturate the subways with 1,000 video cameras and 3,000 motion sensors and to enable cellphone service in 277 underground stations - but not in moving trains - for the first time.
Moving quickly after the subway and bus bombings in London last month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a three-year, $212 million contract to a group of contractors led by the Lockheed Martin Corporation, which is best known for making military hardware like fighter planes, missiles and antitank systems.
The authority abandoned its earlier reservations about cellphone service, agreeing that the benefits of allowing 911 and other calls during emergencies outweighed the costs and the risk of a phone-detonated bomb. It invited carriers to submit proposals by Oct. 12. The winning bidder, which would receive a 10-year license, would have to pay for the installation of the wireless network and would be required to disable all calls at the authority's request. It is not clear how long installation, which will cover 277 of the 468 stations, will take.
The surveillance and cellphone strategies, together with a police campaign begun last month to check riders' bags and packages, are a step toward what some critics have long said cannot be done - putting the nation's largest transit system under constant watch, and fortifying it with enough obstacles to deter potential terrorists.
"We will try everything, and deploy all technologies possible, to prevent an attack from happening," said Katherine N. Lapp, the authority's executive director.
The new security measures will be in place in the subway, along with the authority's two commuter railroads and nine bridges and tunnels and busy transit hubs at Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station and Times Square. While transit agencies in Boston and Houston have experimented with so-called "intelligent video" software, and London has far more cameras, the New York plan is the first to try to marry several advanced security technologies at once, experts said.
At the center of the effort will be a dense network of cameras that can zoom, pivot and rotate, all while transmitting and recording images of vulnerable areas, from dark tunnels under the East River to bustling subway platforms in Midtown. Each camera will capture distances up to 300 feet and will cost about $1,200. A selected location could have 2 to 30 cameras. For now, there will be no cameras on trains and buses.
Mark D. Bonatucci, a Lockheed Martin program director, who will oversee the effort and who plans to move to the New York area with about a dozen colleagues, showed off a bank of video screens yesterday that will be part of a new computer-aided dispatch system. He demonstrated how security officials, to be based at eight control centers, might respond to two situations.
In the first, a person tries to enter a secure facility using an expired electronic access card; a computer detects and signals the security breach on an aerial photograph of the area. Officials would pinpoint the site, watch the attempted entry on a video monitor and send a security officer to investigate.
In the second, a briefcase is left on a busy Midtown subway platform. As a camera beams live images, software can distinguish the moving people from the motionless package, sending off an alert about an unattended, suspicious object. Police officers with bomb-sniffing dogs would be sent to the platform.
The system has limits. The cameras cannot determine whether a suspicious object has been left behind in a garbage can, for example.
The cameras will be installed in the next few "weeks and months," Ms. Lapp said, while the underlying software and computer systems are designed. The contractors will also devise a new radio communications system for the authority's 700-member police force, which patrols the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad. (The New York Police Department monitors the subways.)
A handful of subway riders interviewed at Times Square yesterday expressed strong support for electronic surveillance.
Rashida Padilla, 26, a business student at Monroe College in the Bronx, said the London bombings convinced her that the authority and the police should take strong measures to tighten security. "It's just scary," Ms. Padilla said, referring to her daily ride. "I'm for anything that they want to do. It makes me feel more safe to have the searches and the cameras."
Jerry Monchik, 53, an electrician who lives on Staten Island and takes the No. 1 train in Manhattan, said that while terrorists "will do what they want to do, no matter what," it was comforting to know that more activity will be recorded in the subways. "It will help with robberies and muggings, and if there is an attack, they can catch people more easily," he said.
While most experts doubt that technology could stop a determined suicide bomber, Ms. Lapp said the emphasis on surveillance was the best approach now available. "Obviously, this system, we hope, will detect a terrorist before an incident happens - not just be able, for forensic purposes after an incident happens, to identify who the terrorist is," she said.
The Lockheed Martin contract, which includes optional extensions for maintenance work through September 2013, will focus on physical security. A second big contract, the details of which will be completed by the end of this year, will focus on equipment that can detect biological, chemical and radiological agents in the transit network.
Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Md., prevailed over two competitors: the Science Applications International Corporation, an employee-owned research and engineering firm in San Diego, and Siemens, the German electrical engineering and electronics conglomerate. The three companies submitted proposals on July 22.
Lockheed Martin, along with other defense giants like the Northrop Grumman Corporation, had participated in talks between the authority and a specialized Army unit in 2002 and 2003. Those talks ended because, the authority says, the military asked for too much control.
"We understand the need for immediate action to protect the M.T.A. operations," said Judy F. Marks, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, the business unit that will oversee the contract. "We also understand the need to expedite the movement of people and goods in the metropolitan New York area."
Hiring a military contractor to create a security system is a fateful step in the authority's counterterrorism efforts, which have proceeded haltingly since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In 2002, the authority set aside $591 million for counterterrorism, but as of last month had spent only a fraction of that amount. It has come under pressure to move faster.
For the past 18 months, the authority has surveyed its universe of existing security devices, which include some 5,700 closed-circuit television cameras. Many of them are antiquated, unable to record images or are in relatively unimportant areas.
In a statement last night, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg commended the M.T.A. "for taking this important step to increase the security of our mass transit system." He said completing the system should be the authority's highest priority. "They need to move forward immediately with installing more cameras in subway stations, as they are an important deterrent and will be an invaluable investigative tool for the N.Y.P.D."
The New York Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a legal challenge to the bag-search policy, said it was worried about abuses. "There are questions about both the value and the privacy implications of massive video surveillance in the subways," said Donna Lieberman, its executive director.
Roger Toussaint, president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union of America, called for better training on emergency preparedness. "Done correctly, new technology has its place," he said. "However, the human element is indispensable, and in the event of an emergency, it is personnel, not computers and cameras, who will respond."
Lockheed Martin will work with six partners, including Systra Engineering, a transportation engineering firm in Bloomfield, N.J.; the Intergraph Corporation, a software and data management company in Madison, Ala., and the Cubic Corporation of San Diego, a transportation and military business that helped establish the MetroCard system in the subways in the 1990's.
The other partners are Lenel Systems International, a security technology company in Rochester; Arinc, a transportation communications firm in Annapolis, Md.; and Slattery Skanska, part of the large Swedish construction firm Skanska.
Comment from webservant of Jesus-is-Savior.com:
All across America, surveillance cameras are being installed to monitor American citizens. The implications are frightening. Little do U.S. citizens realize that we are fast headed for a Global Godless Totalitarian Police State. Surveillance cameras are now being installed on school buses, in public school classrooms, on street corners across America, and even in shopping-mall bathrooms. Where will this infringement upon our privacy end? This nightmare is just getting started folks.
"If we stuck to the Constitution as written, we would have: no federal meddling in our schools; no Federal Reserve; no U. S. membership in the U.N.; no gun control; and no foreign aid. We would have no welfare for big corporations, or the "poor"; No American troops in 100 foreign countries; no NAFTA, GATT, or "fast-track"; no arrogant federal judges usurping states rights; no attacks on private property; and no income tax. We can get rid of most of the cabinet departments, most of the agencies, and most of the budget. The government would be small, frugal, and limited." —CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL