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Big Brother Coming to a City Near You, Is the Media’s Language Softening the Blow?

April 4, 2009

I guess it was inevitable, Big Brother is coming to Pittsburgh. Yesterday morning I caught the latest Editorial by WTAE Channel 4 President and General Manager Rick Henry on security -Vs- privacy. At first I was just hearing, however when I herd cameras and London, I had to sit down and listen.

You can watch Mr. Henry’s editorial here in full.

Mr.Henry pointed out that 71% of the Americans polled on the subject of security over privacy, took security. So the past administration did its job in scaring the citizenry into submission. He also made sure that it was known he is for the new security cameras. He said that we here at Channel 4 are for security, but I doubt that he speaks for everyone at the station. Mr. Henry feels that we should give up our rights for security, but it makes perfect sense coming from the media. WPXI Channel 11 an NBC affiliate, plays it off as More Watchful Eyes in the city. KDKA is the only station that gave the story only with the facts they were given. KDKA is a CBS affiliate.

It seems the media is planting the seeds to excepting the loss of our privacy. What they are not telling you is that the a lot of people in London are against the use of security cameras. There are groups that are painting the lenses of the cameras, others have taken to destroying them altogether.

The cameras to be instaled in Pittsburgh are not like most security cameras, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

These won’t be your typical store security cameras, but rather high-tech devices that look like white tool boxes laying glass eggs. They will send the footage wirelessly to powerful computers that will analyze and store it.

“You can zoom three blocks away and read a business card or a license plate,” said Darrin Lipscomb, president of Avrio Group, a Maryland firm that won a competition to be the city’s surveillance camera vendor. “We’re going to have very sophisticated viewing stations that will allow any number of people to view these cameras in any number of ways.”

What is the need for cameras of this technology? Every time they want to infringe on your rights the throw the “T” word around. The Police chief falls right in line.

There’s little hard data on cameras’ effects on crime. But city officials believe they have a plan to protect against terrorism, link existing Downtown cameras, and deter crime in troubled neighborhoods.

I added the bold lettering.

The plan is to install 112 cameras throughout the city on bridges and in areas considered “Hot Spots”. The most disturbing part is, they are going to hook existing private cameras to the network. Half of the funding for the security cameras and the installation will come from Homeland Security money. (Notice: the money was intended for port safety.)

The final number of cameras depends on when the money runs out. The initial $4.1 million investment includes $2.59 million from the Department of Homeland Security, intended to guard ports against terrorism, $862,000 in local money and $625,000 in state funds. Mr. Ravenstahl said he’ll look for more money to expand the system.

One of the things I see left out, is whether or not the system will be connected to the centralized data base at the DHS. I’ll bet it is.


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