Wednesday, July 11, 2007

NY slated to implement its own "Ring of Steel"

The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, as the plan is called, will resemble London’s so-called Ring of Steel, an extensive web of cameras and roadblocks designed to detect, track and deter terrorists. British officials said images captured by the cameras helped track suspects after the London subway bombings in 2005 and the car bomb plots last month.

However studies have shown that CCTV cameras do not deter crime, and are not as effective as officers. What's more, profiling is all too common with the use of cameras. According to a study cited in EPIC testimony against proposed video surveillance plans by the DC Metropolitan Police Department,

The gaze of the cameras do not fall equally on all users of the street but on those who are stereotypical predefined as potentially deviant, or through appearance and demeanor are singled out by operators as unrespectable. In this way youth, particularly those already socially and economically marginal, may be subject to even greater levels of authoritative intervention and official stigmatization, and rather than contributing to social justice through the reduction of victimization, CCTV will merely become a tool of injustice through the amplification of differential and discriminatory policing.

Paul J. Browne, chief spokesmen for the NY police, argued that cameras would be recording in “areas where there’s no expectation of privacy,” assuring that “it would be used to intercept a threat coming our way, but not to collect data indiscriminately on individuals.” But Christopher Dunn, a lawyer with the New York Civil Liberties Union expressed concerns with how images might be used once archived, and whether access to them would be effectively limited.

“This program marks a whole new level of police monitoring of New Yorkers and is being done without any public input, outside oversight, or privacy protections for the hundreds of thousands of people who will end up in N.Y.P.D. computers"

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