Baltimore Paying For Secret Aerial Surveillance Of Entire City

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The mind of a Technocrat is behavior modification: “He believes if people know they are being watched, then it would curb crime”, but it would also change everyone else’s behavior as well. Nevertheless, this is the only reason McNutt wants ‘transparency”.  TN Editor

Right now, a Cessna plane outfitted with multiple cameras is flying over Baltimore to conduct wide-area surveillance. Those four to six cameras can capture an area of about 30 square miles. The real-time images are stitched together and continuously transmitted at a rate of one per second to analysts on the ground.

The public has no clue the Cessna is flying and filming overhead, sometimes for 10 hours a day, or that the Baltimore Police Department has been tapping into that surveillance to fight crime. It’s being conducted by a private company, Persistent Surveillance Systems; the surveillance has not been publicly disclosed and is being funded by a private donor.

The captured images are stored on hard drives so they can be pulled up and reviewed at a later date if needed. According to Bloomberg, which has aninteresting and in-depth report, Ross McNutt, the founder of Persistent Surveillance Systems, pitches the surveillance as: “Imagine Google Earth with TiVo capability.”

Although the captured images are not sharply defined, and instead supposedly resemble blurry blobs, it is good enough to be used as a forensics tool.

If the image quality is really that bad, then you might wonder how the surveillance works. After Radiolab watched one analyst work last year, they explained on a podcast how the police say a crime happened in a certain area and the analyst pulls up the location, zooms in, clicks frame-by-frame backward until about five minutes before the crime. The analyst would tag a suspect by placing an “orange circle over the pixelated shape” and “then click, click, click, he moves forward, forward, forward.”

Another analyst told Bloomberg that is was like “playing a video game.” He would place his cursor over a vehicle to track it frame-by-frame. The job was pitched to him as something a gamer might enjoy.

Once a suspect has been identified by the overhead surveillance footage, an analyst tracks the person back to a house or to a car – somewhere for police to apprehend the suspect. The footage reportedly cannot make out features of the pixelated person, but if that suspect walks past a street-level surveillance camera, then the police can pull that up to obtain a clear image of the person.

McNutt reportedly would rather have transparency about the eye-in-the-sky surveillance that he can provide. He believes if people know they are being watched, then it would curb crime.

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