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Security cameras are getting smarter. Big Brother is quietly adding artificial intelligence that tracks “suspicious behavior” to cameras nationwide.
“It has led directly to arrests, already,” said Blake Sawyer, statewide director of security for the Texas Department of Public Safety. “It gets smarter the longer it’s there.”
The artificial intelligence component, a controversial form of video analysis known as behavior recognition, emerged from researchers at a Houston firm, BRS Labs. But use of the technology has spread well beyond the Lone Star State.
According to the estimate of the company’s president, John Frazzini, local government agencies have applied the software to about 100,000 cameras nationwide. Declining to name specific clients, he said they include transit providers or city governments in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and Washington, D.C. In Tampa, local officials confirmed, the police used behavior recognition software to monitor the Republican National Convention.
Careful what you say — Big Brother’s listening! The Daily has learned that government officials are quietly installing audio surveillance on public buses across the country to eavesdrop on passengers.
Plans to implement the technology are under way in cities from San Francisco to Hartford, Conn., and Eugene, Ore., to Columbus, Ohio.
Linked to video cameras already in wide use, the microphones will offer a formidable new tool for security and law enforcement. With the new systems, experts say, transit officials can effectively send an invisible police officer to transcribe the individual conversations of every passenger riding on a public bus.
But the deployment of the technology on buses raises urgent questions about the boundaries of legally protected privacy in public spaces, experts say, as transit officials — and perhaps law enforcement agencies given access to the systems — seem positioned to monitor audio communications without search warrants or court supervision.
“This is very shocking,” said Anita Allen, a privacy law expert at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s a little beyond what we’re accustomed to.”
So what, exactly, can the state not do? Though he is a populist critic of Big Government, and though he thinks that smaller government and stronger families reinforce each other in practice, Santorum shows no interest in defining principled limits on political power. Nor does he seem troubled by a question that every libertarian will ask: If the state can’t be trusted to regulate our markets, can it really be trusted to regulate our morals?
Local police are now using Predator drones to spy in the U.S., and privacy advocates are understandably creeped out.
There are eight Predator Bs seeing action in Arizona, Florida, Texas and North Dakota and a ninth is expected to be operational soon, officials said…
Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, imagines that without tabs set, the aircraft will become lawn furniture in peoples’ backyards.
“Drones may become so cheap that we could fill our skies with them and we could watch and track everybody all the time,” Stanley said.