Chicago Installs ‘Virtual Shield’ Of 10,000 Surveillance Cameras

CCTV camera

From AFP via Discovery News:

A vast network of high-tech surveillance cameras that allows Chicago police to zoom in on a crime in progress and track suspects across the city is raising privacy concerns.

Chicago’s path to becoming the most-watched U.S. city began in 2003 when police began installing cameras with flashing blue lights at high-crime intersections.

The city has now linked more than 10,000 public and privately owned surveillance cameras in a system dubbed Operation Virtual Shield, according to a report published Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

At least 1,250 of them are powerful enough to zoom in and read the text of a book.

The sophisticated system is also capable of automatically tracking people and vehicles out of the range of one camera and into another and searching for images of interest like an unattended package or a particular license plate.

“Given Chicago’s history of unlawful political surveillance, including the notorious ‘Red Squad,’ it is critical that appropriate controls be put in place to rein in these powerful and pervasive surveillance cameras now available to law enforcement throughout the City,” said Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.

The Chicago police “Red Squad” program from the 1920s through the 1970s spied on and maintained dossiers about thousands of individuals and groups in an effort to find communists and other subversives…

Story continues at Discovery News.

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  • http://www.nickmeador.org/ ndmeador

    Chicago is a troubled place. I lived there for a year and then had to flee. At the time it seemed like the blue cameras were more to give people the impression that the police were always nearby. They weren’t everywhere in the city–only in the more “dangerous” areas. But I had no idea about the Red Squad history. That’s really messed up, but I’m not very surprised.

    • Guest

      The article forgets to mention that the “red squad” exists because communists all over the world used terror, bombings and violence, killing millions of innocents.

      • Andrew

        Have they blocked any comments coming from “CerebralCaustic” or “Your Mom?”

      • Hadrian999

        so do capitalists……whats your point?

      • 5by5

        I think you’re confusing them with us, and projects like Gladio. Or things we did in Nicaragua, like mining their harbors, or supporting death squads in El Salvador, an Guatemala that literally killed over 100,000 peasants, or overthrowing democratically elected governments from Chile to Iran, or backing dictators like Botha, or Idi Amin.

  • http://www.nickmeador.org/ ndmeador

    Chicago is a troubled place. I lived there for a year and then had to flee. At the time it seemed like the blue cameras were more to give people the impression that the police were always nearby. They weren’t everywhere in the city–only in the more “dangerous” areas. But I had no idea about the Red Squad history. That’s really messed up, but I’m not very surprised.

  • Guest

    Disinfo:Crime is out of control! The government needs to do something about it!

    Government: Let’s put camera on the street to record evidence of crime.

    Disinfo: Government cameras are invading our privacy! The government needs to do something about this!

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I’ve been reading for a while now, and I cant say I remember any articles on Disinfo that the types of crime these cameras would be able to catch are out of control. The Disinfo articles more seem to emphasize the crimes that are done behind closed doors, not out on the streets.

      • Andrew

        Don’t spoil his straw men and hasty generalizations.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      That would look clever…if Disinfo had ever suggested that crime was out of control. Of course…since Disinfo generally winds up with articles featuring how the media spins fake claims about crime to falsely justify government surveillance for law enforcement…we look pretty fucking cool and ahead of the game instead of seeming like collaborating douchebags who pander for the problem instead of the solution.

      • Andrew

        White-collar crime is out of control.

  • Guest

    Disinfo:Crime is out of control! The government needs to do something about it!

    Government: Let’s put camera on the street to record evidence of crime.

    Disinfo: Government cameras are invading our privacy! The government needs to do something about this!

  • Guest

    The article forgets to mention that the “red squad” exists because communists all over the world used terror, bombings and violence, killing millions of innocents.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I’ve been reading for a while now, and I cant say I remember any articles on Disinfo that the types of crime these cameras would be able to catch are out of control. The Disinfo articles more seem to emphasize the crimes that are done behind closed doors, not out on the streets.

  • Andrew

    Don’t spoil his straw men and hasty generalizations.

  • Andrew

    Have they blocked any comments coming from “CerebralCaustic” or “Your Mom?”

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    That would look clever…if Disinfo had ever suggested that crime was out of control. Of course…since Disinfo generally winds up with articles featuring how the media spins fake claims about crime to falsely justify government surveillance for law enforcement…we look pretty fucking cool and ahead of the game instead of seeming like collaborating douchebags who pander for the problem instead of the solution.

  • Hadrian999

    one more reason I will only go into chicago when it is absolutely necessary

  • Hadrian999

    one more reason I will only go into chicago when it is absolutely necessary

  • 5by5

    “Chicago Installs ‘Virtual Shield’ Of 10,000 Surveillance Cameras”

    Thereby learning exactly squat from London, where it has done nothing to reduce crime, and everything to violate people’s liberty.

    • quartz99

      Well, that’s the point. Keep people in line by watching them constantly, keep them constantly in fear that what they’re doing will be misinterpreted and bring the police in to beat them to a pulp for no reason. All in the name of security of course.

      • Ironaddict06

        Exactly. Chicago did lean from London. Chicago is just the first American city to install Virtual Shield, other cities will follow.

  • 5by5

    “Chicago Installs ‘Virtual Shield’ Of 10,000 Surveillance Cameras”

    Thereby learning exactly squat from London, where it has done nothing to reduce crime, and everything to violate people’s liberty.

  • Hadrian999

    so do capitalists……whats your point?

  • 5by5

    I think you’re confusing them with us, and projects like Gladio. Or things we did in Nicaragua, like mining their harbors, or supporting death squads in El Salvador, an Guatemala that literally killed over 100,000 peasants, or overthrowing democratically elected governments from Chile to Iran, or backing dictators like Botha, or Idi Amin.

  • Anonymous

    Well, that’s the point. Keep people in line by watching them constantly, keep them constantly in fear that what they’re doing will be misinterpreted and bring the police in to beat them to a pulp for no reason. All in the name of security of course.

  • Andrew

    White-collar crime is out of control.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513259539 Randall Smoothsmooth Brownlee

    As a lifelong Chicagoan, I feel that there are no need for these cameras. Get a less corrupt police force that people can trust and that actually patrols bad neighborhoods. This is one step closer to a world where big brother’s eye will be able to gaze into your bedroom at the push of a button.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513259539 Randall Smoothsmooth Brownlee

    As a lifelong Chicagoan, I feel that there are no need for these cameras. Get a less corrupt police force that people can trust and that actually patrols bad neighborhoods. This is one step closer to a world where big brother’s eye will be able to gaze into your bedroom at the push of a button.

  • Ironaddict06

    Exactly. Chicago did lean from London. Chicago is just the first American city to install Virtual Shield, other cities will follow.