Posts Tagged 'surveillance'

Long Island Town Installs Massive Surveillance Camera System

The Long Island town of Kings Point has decided everything within its limits will be recorded.

The 3.3-square mile North Shore community is home to 5,000 residents. The plan calls for 44 cameras to eventually be installed at the village’s 19 entrances. That’s about one camera for every 120 people.

Anyone who enters the town will have their license plate scanned and, if there is a match in a criminal database, the police will be notified. The mayor says it’s to protect residents because there are apparently many crimes in this upscale, exclusive community.

I’m all for catching criminals, but the invasion of privacy implications are just…whoa.

Source: CBS New York (via Gawker)

Spy Cams Reveal Wild Stuff

Photo: siwild

The Smithsonian Wild project is the result of five years of surreptitious photographs of animals in their natural habitats. Using motion-triggered cameras that are attached to trees or posts all over the world, they collected 201,000 images, so now you can see all these rare and unusual animals up close: the South American tapir in the Peruvian Amazon, giant pandas in China, the African lion in Kenya.

As William McShea, co-leader of the project, told Wired:

“Many animals leave virtually no sign of their existence, so camera traps are just a godsend for people like me. … It’s much better than looking at a handful of feces and wondering what dropped it. These images are like museum-quality specimens with collection dates, locations, species names and other veracious metadata.”

In a similar vein, “60 Minutes” recently aired a segment on British filmmaker John Downer, whose ground-breaking spy cams have captured hard-to-track animals — most recently the polar bear in the Arctic Circle. Because the cameras look like snowballs, they blend into the terrain and the bears are shown behaving as they would when they are totally alone.

You don’t have to be nutso for animals to be pretty awed by these.

World’s Smallest Video Camera

Photo: Fraunhofer

The German research firm Fraunhofer has developed the world’s smallest digital video camera — intended for use for exploration within the human body. The new endoscope, which is the size of a grain of salt and has a resolution of 62,500 pixels, is the first of its kind that can be reproduced inexpensively and is disposable. The invention will have a myriad of applications in the medical and research fields, but just imagine the possibilities in surveillance…. 

Source: Gizmag

Exhibit Eyes Invasions of Privacy

Photo by jonathan mcintosh

As hard as it might be for some people to accept, you don’t own your “image,” you can’t control whether someone takes your photo in public, and no one has to ask your permission. From paparazzi in hot pursuit of starlets to street photographers trying to capture candid moments, it’s all up for grabs. And, sometimes, those are the best shots.

With that in mind, London’s Tate Modern is running the exhibit “Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera,” which explores the “unseen photographer,” from Marilyn Monroe feeling the breeze on the subway grates to a kissing couple in a 1950s movie theater, and how the viewer is implicated in such covert observations. From the Tate’s web site:

The issues raised are particularly relevant in the current climate, with topical debates raging around the rights and desires of individuals, terrorism and the increasing availability and use of surveillance. Exposed confronts these issues and their implications head-on.

The exhibit will go until October 3.

Chicago: Windy and Watched 24/7

Photo by RUNFAR

It’s always funny when people get upset about being photographed in public because they clearly don’t realize how much they already are being filmed. But I guess it’s preferable to be filmed by a vast network of surveillance and security cameras over a lone street photographer. Right? Right.

And if you’re in Chicago, you should know you are being filmed more than in any other city in the US. The city is plastered with cameras — likely over 10,000 of them — and the police use them to solve crimes from suicides to drug sales, and the people are just fine with it.

In less than a decade and with little opposition, the city has linked thousands of cameras — on street poles and skyscrapers, aboard buses and in train tunnels — in a network covering most of the city. Officials can watch video live at a sprawling emergency command center, police stations and even some squad cars.

What’s more, the ever-politic Mayor Richard Daley says he could install 10,000 more cameras and no one would say a thing. So, watch out.

(Funny thing is, these cameras never seem to videotape Chicago’s corrupt politicians or abusive police force breaking the law.)

Article from Chicago Tribune

In the Name of Terrorism, More Fear in London



It’s been a good week for paranoia-inducing ad campaigns. London has rolled out its latest counter-terrorism posters, which feature, among others images, a full trash can and a security camera with the message that people need to report on their neighbors and fellow citizens when things seem off. This is in addition to the posters released earlier that specifically targeted photographers and cell phone users.

Incidentally, a three-year study released in February found that the anti-terror methods employed in places like the US and the UK are illegal and counter-productive. While the study specifically referred to the detainment and torture of terrorism suspects, I think it can be applied to the overall climate for so-called “suspicious” activity, including photography. Our leaders not only don’t have a problem with using our fear to implement measures that are not legal or ethical, they are relying on it as a tool of governance.

“Many governments, ignoring the lessons of history, have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses to terrorism that have undermined cherished values and violated human rights,” said the chairman of the study’s panel of legal experts.

To boil it all down, it just seems so incredibly ham-handed. Do people need to be reminded to report something they feel is suspicious? And why do our governments need to fight the the nebulous beast that is international terrorism by impairing their own peoples’ quality of life? 

Article via Boing Boing

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