Watching Out For You On Liberty Island

If the NYPD Harlem Panopticon wasn’t enough of an intrusion for you into your private life, don’t step foot on Liberty Island to visit the Statue of Liberty if you hope to preserve the remaining tatters of your anonymity:

Liberty Island’s video cameras
all feed into a computer system. The park doesn’t disclose details, but
fully equipped, the system is capable of running software that analyzes
the imagery and automatically alerts human overseers to any suspicious
events. The software can spot when somebody abandons a bag or backpack.
It has the ability to discern between ferryboats, which are allowed to
approach the island, and private vessels, which are not.

And
it can count bodies, detecting if somebody is trying to stay on the
island after closing, or assessing when people are grouped too tightly
together, which might indicate a fight or gang activity. “A camera with
artificial intelligence can be there 24/7, doesn’t need a bathroom
break, doesn’t need a lunch break and doesn’t go on vacation,” says Ian
Ehrenberg, former vice president of Nice Systems, the program’s
developer.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll in July 2007 found that 71
percent of Americans favor increased video surveillance. There are an
estimated 30 million surveillance cameras now deployed in the United
States shooting 4 billion hours of footage a week.

Cameras and megapixels are cheaper than ever and that means a greater
amount of better, higher quality, cameras are available to record our
every breath and movement. Do you feel safer? Or do you feel more
violated?

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