artificial eyes that search for lawbreakers

From brian carroll <>
Date Sun, 1 Jul 2001 16:48:57 -0800

  [traffic cameras on freeways, and now in San Francisco the debate
  surrounds having automatic cameras installed on traffic lights in
  the city to take snapshots of red-light (stop light) runners. and
  this is causing concern and debate. but the following article is
  about taking this where people rhetorically fear such technologies
  evolving. interesting that this tech is already in europe, as i
  have heard lots about London's use of this. and also, in LA, Calif.
  there have been distributed microphones/sound-sensors i think, to
  pick up gunshots via triangulation between towers. one issue that
  this directly relates to is privacy, of course, but also, in the
  field of private and public space, in an urban planning and also
  architectural sense. problem is, currently in these disciplines,
  on the theoretical side, the concept of 'public' anything is not
  considered feasible, as if it no longer exists, if it ever did.
  reconceptualizing such a concept as public and private might be
  helpful in approaching such issues. else, if everything is dealt
  with in terms of privacy, in political terms, predictable events
  will continue to forge ahead, while the public is on the sidelines].

High-Tech Security on Tampa Streets

The Associated Press
Sunday, July 1, 2001; 5:22 p.m. EDT

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa is using high-tech security cameras to scan the
city's streets for people wanted for crimes, a law enforcement tactic
that some liken to Big Brother.

A computer software program linked to 36 cameras began scanning
crowds Friday in Tampa's nightlife district, Ybor City, matching
results against a database of mug shots of people with outstanding
arrest warrants.

European cities and U.S government offices, casinos and banks are
already using the so-called face-printing system, but Tampa is the
first American city to install a permanent system along public
streets, The Tampa Tribune reported Sunday.

A similar system was used at Super Bowl XXXV, which was held in Tampa
last January.

"Tampa is really leading the pack here," said Frances Zelazny, a
spokeswoman for Visionics Corp., which produces the "FaceIt" software.

The software has raised concerns over privacy, ethics and government intrusion.

"This is Big Brother actually implemented," said Jack Walters of the
Tampa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "I think this
just opens the door to it being everywhere."

But Tampa Detective Bill Todd says FaceIt is no different than having
a police officer standing on a street holding a mug shot.

At the Super Bowl, a Visionics competitor, Graphco Technologies,
wired cameras around Raymond James Stadium and in Ybor City.

The computer spotted 19 people at the crowded stadium with
outstanding warrants, all for minor offenses. But no arrests were

"During the Super Bowl, we got overwhelmed," Todd said. "That's the
other thing: When you get a match, how quickly can you get to these

Business owners have mixed emotions about the new technology.

"I don't know if I like it," said Vicki Doble, who owns The Brew Pub.
"It may be a bit too much."

Don Barco, owner of King Corona Cigars Bar & Cafe, approves of the
cameras but says they may not be as effective as the city hopes.

"Sometimes these high-tech toys, they tend to give a little too much
credence to what they do," he said.

 Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

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