Mayor Daley has argued that security and terrorism won’t be an issue if his Olympic dreams come true because, by 2016, there will be a surveillance camera on every street corner in Chicago.
During a December test, live video was used to catch a petty thief in the act of sticking his hand in a Salvation Army kettle outside Macy’s on State Street.
I would respectfully suggest that Chicago would do better to install monitoring cameras in the offices of politicians.
Mayor Daley needs to think beyond his next law-and-order bumper sticker. The experience in London is nothing we should seek to imitate. As Timothy Garton Ash writes in The Guardian, Liberty in Britain is facing death by a thousand cuts.
The East Germans are now more free than we are, at least in terms of law and administrative practice in such areas as surveillance and data collection. Thirty years ago, they had the Stasi. Today, Britain has such broadly drawn and elastic surveillance laws that Poole borough council could exploit them to spend two weeks spying on a family wrongly accused of lying on a school application form.
The German electronics company Siemens has developed a complete “surveillance in a box” system they are marketing to government intelligence and police agencies “…in Europe and Asia”. (No sales to America? Really?? I’d love to see the internal memo to Sales about that)
New Scientist says the Intelligence Platform has already been sold the to 60 countries. [Background for puzzle fans: Europe contains 52 countries, Asia 43. Yes, this includes the Vatican and Timor-Leste]
According to a document obtained by New Scientist, the system integrates tasks typically done by separate surveillance teams or machines, pooling data from sources such as telephone calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions and insurance records. It then sorts through this mountain of information using software that Siemens dubs “intelligence modules”.
Well, I’m sure this is good news.