Where every streetlamp knows your name -- IntelliStreet increases the #SurveillanceState

posted Jan 16, 2013, 3:31 AM by Peter Joseph Moons   [ updated Jan 27, 2013, 12:53 PM ]

Intelligent Street Lamps To Debut Friday - Detroit CBS Local

Intellistreets Street Lamp

by Peter Joseph Moons:

Similar to 'smart buses' equipped with video and audio surveillance, 'IntelliStreets' street lamps can conduct video and audio recording of the public.  The capabilities of this smart street lamp are impressive in terms of surveillance: image sensors, audio capture, speaker for announcements, adjustable signage, wireless connectivity, as well as CBRNE and seismic sensors.

A person walking on any public street would not generally have an expectation of privacy since the lamp's range covers the public 'commons.'  As such, anything occurring within the sensor range of an IntelliStreets street lamp is within the scope of being accessible and thus recorded, databased, and searchable.  If these lamps are employed in private locations, then one would think that the public should be notified they are in use.

Of course, there is great public value in bringing light to dark public areas -- the nature of street lamps operated with any fuel.  Smart street lamps, however, go beyond passive crime deterrence and expand the concept into active surveillance of a targeted area. 

Imaginably, one IntelliStreet lamp can be linked to other lamps, and further to a central monitoring station; optimally, IntelliStreets lamps would be linked to other surveillance systems to develop a composite picture of a target's activities or knowledge of the activities in a certain area.  An imaginable scenario is one where a person is 'monitorable' from the moment they leave a private location, business or domicile, on the street under IntelliStreet lamps, on a bus that has connected recording audio and video, and of course by any CCTVs.  

Unfortunately, for the common citizen, their activities could be under constant observation, thus giving up any privacy in a location where 'smart street lamps' are deployed.  As with other surveillance devices used by governments or businesses, at first the public would be 'creeped out' but would eventually become desensitized to the IntelliStreets lamps' presence.  

Interestingly, beyond privacy concerns in the public square, there are benefits to governments and businesses by using IntelliStreets.  Governments could acquire a composite picture of the demographics of people who transit an area to comprehend the tax base. Businesses, likewise, would find value in knowing the demographics of those who enter their establishments for marketing purposes.  What was previously garnered from simple human observation can now be unmistakably captured and analyzed, thus producing verifiable data.

The grading of the IntelliStreets lamp is the same as that of buses with real-time, connected, recording devices.

Government (or business) Control Grade: 8.
Freedom Grade: 2.

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