On June 11, 2009, we posted an article about Chicago's expanded use of surveillance cameras. Today, the national media has taken notice and the Wall Street Journal published an interesting article about the same thing. Civil libertarians are worried that Chicago's expanded use of cameras will usher in the era of Big Brother. What's interesting about Chicago's use of cameras is not only the 1,500 cameras that police have placed in potential trouble areas, but the integration of private security and surveillance cameras with the city's network. If you read our article of June 11, 2009, even homeowners have been invited to allow their cameras to feed into the city's network. One professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago estimates that at least 15,000 cameras feed into the city's network of surveillance cameras. While there is no way that all 15,000 cameras can be monitored at the same time, when a call is placed into the 911 Emergency Call Center, the system identifies the location of the caller and immediately places a video feed from the nearest surveillance camera on the operators computer screen. The Chicago police insist that these cameras have aided in the arrest and prosecution of thousands of people arrested for crimes. The ACLU has made several requests for information about the surveillance cameras but the city has refused to provide the information. Needless to say, the potential for abuse is great.
To read the Wall Street Journal article, click here.