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.

30 Comments on "Chicago Installs ‘Virtual Shield’ Of 10,000 Surveillance Cameras"

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

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

      • Hadrian999 | Feb 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm |

        so do capitalists……whats your point?

      • 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Don’t spoil his straw men and hasty generalizations.

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

  9. 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.

  10. Hadrian999 | Feb 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm |

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

  11. Hadrian999 | Feb 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

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

  12. “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.

  13. “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.

    • 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 | Feb 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm |

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

  14. Hadrian999 | Feb 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm |

    so do capitalists……whats your point?

  15. 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.

  16. Anonymous | Feb 13, 2011 at 1:25 am |

    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.

  17. White-collar crime is out of control.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Ironaddict06 | Feb 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm |

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

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