Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Atlanta seeks to add 500 surveillance cameras

From the Atlanta Journal and Constitution:

"Atlanta’s other reality show is taping today outside CNN Center, at Woodruff Park and in Midtown.

What you might call Real Pedestrians of Atlanta is a rather modest video surveillance: a few dozen cameras monitoring select locations in the city every second. But the city has applied for millions in federal stimulus funds so it can train about 500 more cameras on city streets.

The city may now engage in a debate that has roiled European capitals for years: Is closed-circuit surveillance a benign tool that helps the cops deter and even solve crimes, or is Big Brother coming to town to observe and record every move you make?

City officials are seeking $13.7 million in federal cash amid a series of high-profile crimes in recent months: a champion boxer shot dead in the street, a City Council member carjacked at gunpoint, a rash of armed robberies near Georgia Tech.

The system Atlanta plans to use could store images for up to 30 days and support software that reads license plate numbers and detects gunshots. Critics say the system conjures up images from George Orwell’s “1984,” a novel about a totalitarian state presided over by an all-seeing Big Brother. They wonder where the cameras will be pointed, who will have access to these images and sounds, how long will they be kept, and where will they be stored. ..."

Read the rest of the story by
clicking here.

In light of the Muni story, below, and the fact that they cite the need but haven't kept statistics on the effectiveness of their existing network, I wonder if they are just grabbing at stimulus dollars. When the stimulus dries up, where will the maintenance money come from? It's also funny to read how they refer to Europe's schemes as justification ... without also saying that many in the UK and Europe are looking to back off CCTV because its true effectiveness can't be proven. Only time will tell.

Enjoy.

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