?coll=chi-technology-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true> &ctrack=1&cset=true
 U.S. cities focus on spy cameras
Video images of British bombing suspects spark moves toward expanding
surveillance techniques

By Mike Dorning
Washington Bureau
Published August 8, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The striking images of London subway bombers captured by the
city's extensive video surveillance system and a rising sense that similar
attacks could happen in the U.S. are renewing interest in expanding police
camera surveillance of America's public places.

In the aftermath of the London bombings, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), a
liberal with a strongly pragmatic bent, called for installing more cameras
to monitor passengers in the New York City subway system.

Washington Mayor Anthony Williams cited the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to
press for broader use of cameras, but his efforts to build a video
surveillance system for downtown areas were curtailed by resistance from the
D.C. City Council and some members of Congress.

Meanwhile, Chicago, which has the largest public video surveillance system
in the country, is proceeding to expand its 2,000-camera network and is
beginning to encourage businesses to provide the city live feeds from their
surveillance cameras.

The London bombings showcased the capabilities of a digital video
surveillance system. After the July 7 and July 21 attacks, authorities
quickly produced relatively high-resolution images of the suspected bombers
that benefited fast-moving investigations.

But to critics, whose reservations are based primarily on privacy concerns,
the London attacks also highlighted the limitations of camera surveillance.
London has one of the world's largest surveillance systems--the average
person there is photographed by 300 cameras in the course of a day,
according to a 1999 calculation by two British academics--yet that did not
prevent terrorist bombings in the heart of the city.

"It's very difficult to make a case that the cameras are a deterrent to the
most determined terrorists, those who intend to give up their life," said
Brian Jenkins, a terrorism expert for RAND Corp.

But even with suicide bombers, camera surveillance can help with the hunt
for the terrorist cells that provide them crucial logistical support. Clues
captured on video might assist in rapidly tracing a bomber's movements,
possibly putting authorities on the trail of a previously undiscovered cell.

How cameras can help

"How did they come in? How were they dressed? What were they carrying? What
did they look like?" Jenkins said, citing details cameras can reveal.

Even before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, technological advances were
driving a rapid expansion in camera surveillance.

Digital cameras provide better-quality images. They are smaller and can be
made less obvious. They cost less too, so authorities can buy more.

Cheaper computer capacity, more sophisticated software, fiber optic cable
and wireless broadband combine to allow easier monitoring at remote
locations, more extensive storage of images and rapid retrieval of crucial
video images.

Looking to the future

Emerging technologies offer even greater promise. Chicago is installing
gunshot detection equipment on cameras to automatically alert authorities
and point the camera in the direction of the sound.

New Jersey Transit has a pilot project in one station that uses computer
analysis of video to alert authorities to suspicious behavior, such as
someone leaving a package behind. Authorities also are experimenting with
facial recognition software, though existing versions are of limited use in
scanning crowds for suspected terrorists.

While advocates of camera surveillance argue that people have no legitimate
expectation of privacy in a public place, civil libertarians raise concerns
about possible abuses.

Critics contend that surveillance that can secretly store images of people
creates a new potential for abuse, such as intimidation of political
dissenters or blackmail of people caught stealing a kiss from the wrong
person or entering a gay club.

"You have essentially imbued the police with Superman's powers," said Barry
Steinhardt, director of the Technology & Liberty Program at the American
Civil Liberties Union. "You have the problem that police officers who have
access to this data inevitably abuse it."

There have been documented cases of operators abusing cameras for voyeurism.
During the 2004 Republican National Convention, a police helicopter that was
supposed to be monitoring protesters instead trained its infrared camera on
a couple engaged in a romantic encounter on a darkened apartment balcony.
The resulting video was obtained by a local TV station.
 At a minimum, there should be tight legal controls on camera systems
monitoring the public, Steinhardt argues.

"We've got to put some chains on these surveillance monsters," he said.

Countering the terrorist threat to commuter trains, buses and open public
spaces is far more complex than bolstering aviation security. And it is one
for which the government is spending much less money. As a result, many
transit officials and local authorities consider surveillance cameras an
attractive tool to include among a mix of security measures.

Unlike airports, where passengers arrive through a few gates, transit
systems have numerous entrances. Speed is essential for commuters on their
way to work. And fares must be kept low: CTA riders accustomed to a $1.75
fare might well desert the system if they had to pay the $2.50-per-flight
security surcharge that airline passengers are charged.

More commuters than fliers

Transit systems also must contend with far larger crowds: More people move
through New York's Pennsylvania Station during the morning rush hour than
pass through Chicago's busy O'Hare International Airport in 2 1/2 days, said
Greg Hull, director of operations, safety and security for the American
Public Transportation Association.

Public open spaces are even more difficult to secure. But cameras have the
advantage of not slowing the flow of pedestrians.

Evidence is mixed on how effective cameras have been in deterring criminals,
much less terrorists who have dedicated themselves to a religious or
political cause. A 2002 report by the British Home Office, which examined 22
separate studies of video monitoring systems in the United States and
Britain, found that the cameras "had little or no effect on crime in public
transport and city centre settings" but did appear to reduce crime in
parking lots.

However, cameras do appear to have had an effect as part of a broader
campaign that succeeded in pushing IRA attacks out of central London in the
1990s, said Jenkins, who co-authored a case study examining the British
authorities' response.

In addition to the video surveillance system, London authorities added
uniformed and undercover police patrols, provided extensive security
training to transit staff and waged an intensive campaign to encourage the
public to immediately report suspicious items.

The effort included regular tests in which covert inspectors would leave
suspicious items to gauge the response. At the peak of the IRA threat, the
testers would see a response within minutes, Jenkins said.

The IRA moved its attacks to more remote targets. Similar security efforts
might simply shift terrorist attacks to other targets.

But that can be a significant achievement, Jenkins said, because it is
better to push attacks out of the most crowded areas. Likewise, a bomb
detonated in a subway tunnel has its explosive force channeled up and down
the train, producing maximum casualties. Above ground, most of the force
travels above into the air.

"Do we want to chase them out of the subways and into the streets? Probably
yes," Jenkins said.



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> 
<font face=arial size=-1><a 
">Fair play? Video games influencing politics. Click and talk back!</a>.</font>

Want to discuss this topic?  Head on over to our discussion list, [EMAIL 
Brooks Isoldi, editor

  Post message:
  Subscribe:    [EMAIL PROTECTED]
  Unsubscribe:  [EMAIL PROTECTED]

*** FAIR USE NOTICE. This message contains copyrighted material whose use has 
not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. OSINT, as a part of 
The Intelligence Network, is making it available without profit to OSINT 
YahooGroups members who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the 
included information in their efforts to advance the understanding of 
intelligence and law enforcement organizations, their activities, methods, 
techniques, human rights, civil liberties, social justice and other 
intelligence related issues, for non-profit research and educational purposes 
only. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material 
as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use 
this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' 
you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
For more information go to: 
Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

Reply via email to