BEWARE OF ‘BIG BROTHER’

BEWARE OF ‘BIG BROTHER’

By William Brown

 

 

 

There is an estimated 30 million video surveillance cameras in the United States; shooting approximately four billion hours of footage every week. We live in a time where video/audio surveillance is already a tremendous facet of human existence. Additionally, it looks as if it’s not only here to stay but also grow in numbers and technology. There are many views and opinions on this topic, ranging from some who don’t mind or seem to care that ‘Big Brother’ is watching their every move, to some people who demand tighter security for increased protection: personal or business. {{more}}Furthermore, let’s not forget the paranoid conspiracy theorists who believe the government is out to steal privacy rights among many other unrealistic beliefs.New York and other cities have expanded the number of cameras within the general public, via: grants from the Department of Homeland security. Marc Rotenberg, Director of Washington based Electronic Information Center, says, “Other cities like Los Angeles, opted against widespread use of cameras because of cost”.One law enforcement objective is to pair real time video with artificial intelligence and software, thus able to act before a terrorist bombing or other crime occurs. Such systems would alert the police of warning signs, such as abandoned backpacks, or recognize faces, in time to prevent a potential terrorist attack. New York is the most frequent target for terrorist plots and is advancing toward that capability with ‘ Domain Awareness System ; an effort developed with Microsoft of Redmond, Washington, that’s described as drawing real time information from about 3000 CCTV cameras and sensors in lower and mid-town, Manhattan.Bloomberg, who is founder of Bloomberg news says, ” The camera network now has the ability to alert authorities of abnormalities such as abandoned packages.” Christopher Swift, an attorney and adjunct professor of national security studies at Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service in Washington, says,” Government officials have considerable legal leeway to expand the use of video cameras in public places.” He added, ” Many people misjudge the extent of their fourth amendment privacy right outside their home.” Paul Everette, Senior Manager for IHS security research group in Austin, Texas, said ” The market projects to increase from $3.2 billion dollar industry to $ 4.1 billion annually by the year 2016.” CLU director Carol Rose said in a telephone interview, “People need to understand there was a lot of video surveillance at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and neither there or in the many studies that have been done is there any evidence that surveillance is going to stop or deter someone of a violent act.” She also warns against what she sees as the temptation to see increasing video surveillance as a solution to terrorist threat. Her concerns are being shared by many fellow Americans, according to the Washington Post after the Boston bombings. The poll found that 48% of people worry that the government goes too far to investigate terrorism, compared to the 41% who say the government will not go far enough.Drone-use for surveillance has also been a source of privacy concerns well before the Boston attack. Rotenberg, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said, ” The federal government deploys predator drones to help patrol the border, an area so broadly defined, it includes NYC and Chicago.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, part of Homeland Security Department, have outfitted those aircraft with technology to intercept mobile phone signals and identify people on the ground, according to documents Rotenberg obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Currently the ARGUS-IS is the world’s highest resolution video surveillance platform by DARPA. The ARGUS array is made up of several cameras and other types of imaging systems. The output of the imaging system is used to create extremely large, 1.8GP high resolution mosaic images and video.The U.S. Army, along with Boeing, a defense aircraft manufacturer, have developed an unmanned flight model called “The Hummingbird.” It is a VTOL-UAS Three of them are being deployed in Afghanistan for a full year to survey and spy on Afghanistan from an altitude of 20,000 feet with the ability to scan 25 square miles of ground surface. It has the capacity and capability to record one million terabytes a day saved forever. It looks like a helicopter, is 35 feet in length, has a diameter of 6 feet, and maintains a max payload of 2500 pounds and a 20,000 foot cruise ceiling that’s limited by current engine certification. The Hummingbird has a max cruise speed of 165 knots an endurance of 20 plus hours at 15,000 feet. The longest flight was 18.7 hours and had a range of 2,250 plus nautical miles. So it would seem to this reporter that technology is reaching a point to where not only is it seemingly unstoppable in the area of security application, but it won’t be long before they will be able to see and know all and any crimes, terrorism attacks, or any type of injustice against the human race or government.