Over 500 cameras discovered in one Maryland county’s government building – Who’s watching the watchers in the #SurveillanceState?

posted Mar 9, 2013, 3:47 PM by Peter Joseph Moons

New Anne Arundel Co. Executive Probes Suspicious Cameras In County Council Offices  -- CBS Baltimore.


Comments by Peter Joseph Moons.

Over 500 cameras not controlled by the local security office were found in a government building of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, USA.  Officials were baffled as to who controlled the surveillance cameras, for what purpose there were used, and how they were funded, according to the news report linked above.


More important is answering why and how.  First, the purpose is obvious: surveil politicians, staff, and perhaps even customers.  Finding out why this activity was important to someone or to some persons is the key to answering the riddle.  Likely, the inquiry will not last long as such a vast network of cameras requires resources to install and maintain, which leads to the how question, secondly.  Such a large surveillance system could theoretically capture audio and video and always be on; if recorded, this would amount to a large quantity of stored data. (One wonders where the data, if recorded, went.)  Also, this system would have cost much money for installation and would require constant maintenance, owing to the scale involved: with more than 500 cameras something could go wrong frequently and require repair.  Upkeep would have to be funded, likely by public money.


Finally, this disclosure leads to the growing awareness of individuals surveilling others to reap some gain: a political expose, a journalistic scoop, a business advantage, or some minor vendetta.  Observation will become even easier since the cost of surveillance drops yearly; this is the application of Moore’s Law, of course.  So not only will governments but also companies will use observation technology to pursue a gain over competitors while enticing consumption habits of consumers.