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New York police department is working on setting up license plate readers and cameras throughout Lower Manhattan

New York will soon follow in the footsteps of London’s “ring of steel” by implementing its own Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, reported CNET.  The security initiative will have more than 100 cameras that will monitor cars through Lower Manhattan. 

London's ring of steel entails a network of cameras and roadblocks that are designed to track and deter terrorists.  The images captured by officials have aided in the tracking of suspects of previous threats.

New York's police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, stated last week that department has obtained $25 million toward the project, yet the estimated cost of the plan reaches a hefty $90 million.  Roughly $15 million came from Homeland Security grants and another $10 million came from the city.  At this point, Kelly states that there are enough funds to install roughly 116 license plate readers in fixed and mobile locations over the next few months.

"This area is very critical to the economic lifeblood of this nation," said Kelly in an interview last week with CNET. "We want to make it less vulnerable."

If fully financed, the project will include license plate readers and 3,000 public and private cameras below Canal Street.  There will also be a center staffed by police and private security officers, and roadblocks.

As of now, the license plate readers have been ordered, and the program is still waiting on more funding, hopefully from federal grants.  The entire operation is expected to be in place and running by 2010.

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By ebakke on 7/10/2007 5:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
With monitoring cameras owned privately, the government has the right under subpoena or in due course of a formal investigation to solicit the visual feed of a camera where probable cause exists that evidence pertaining to the crime being investigated may be discovered.

My immediate thought upon reading this sentence was this:
In the situation you describe, the government is doing all of its fact finding post-crime, or post-incident. Only in what seems to be incredibly rare circumstances would they have enough foresight to be able to do things proactively. And even then, a X-day feed that was subpoenaed may have missed vital information from X+1 days ago.

To me, the point is that this provides both realtime data, and the ability to store data, thus make decisions and inferences on previously observed behavior.

Furthermore, there is a high probability that the cameras or the software connected to them, use some sort of filtering algorithm to block 'noise'. Operators, it would only make sense, would be alerted when something is caught by the software. The University near my home is looking to install cameras of this nature at a very similar cost (per camera) to the NYC program.

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