New York pays to be spied on
New York – The Big Apple is preparing for an invasion of watchful and attentive CCTV, capable of transmitting images in real time and keeping under control citizens, vehicles, and anything else that passes through the immense avenues of the megalopolis. This was revealed by the New York Times, which underlines the absolute novelty of an experiment of this magnitude in the United States and the “English style” of a seamlessly distributed control, which threatens to shortly envelop the fundamental ganglia of the City . Something more pervasive than what has been experienced so far by other large cities in the country, such as Chicago.
The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative plans a pilot phase with the installation of approximately 100 cameras by the end of the current year, sophisticated enough to read car license plates and report any suspicious or wanted identifiers to the authorities . The complete plan instead speaks of 3 thousand public and private video cameras in operation under the city ridge of Canal Street by 2008.
If this were not enough, the installation of remote controls at critical intersections is planned, which will allow the authorities to block all traffic with the push of a button . All fully operational by the 2010 deadline, the Times said.
The plan, however, is not a foregone conclusion: Raymond W. Kelly, NYC police commissioner, complains that his department has so far obtained “only” $ 25 million out of the $ 90 planned for the cost of the entire operation. . At present, therefore, only the installation of the 116 license plate readers on mobile and fixed stations, including cars and helicopters, is certain.
A strong boost to the financing of the LMSI could come from the recent thwarted attacks in London, from the shock news of the jihadist “conspiracy of doctors” ready to hit the US again and, in general, from the resurgence of Islamist terrorism against the American hyperpower.
In this respect the British officers argued the usefulness of the CCTVs installed in the capital of the Kingdom , thanks to which they were able to track down the traces of the suspects responsible for the bombs in the subway that exploded in 2005, as well as foiling last month’s plan. “This area is fundamental for the economic life of the nation – commented Kelly regarding the new CCTVs being installed – We simply want to make it less vulnerable”.
In any case, there is no shortage of critics: they stand out in particular excessive costs compared to the real effectiveness of the system as well as the implications of such a heavy level of distributed surveillance on the privacy and life of New Yorkers.