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TSA's wet dream to hit streets of New York

Publisher: 
TechEye
Publication date: 
25-Jan-2012
Author(s): 
Matthew Finnegan
Original story link: 

Privacy International spokesperson Emma Draper believes that the use of such technology has worrying implications.

“The NYPD's plans to extend the range of the technology to 25 metres strongly suggests that this technology is ultimately intended for scanning entire streets, rather than targeting specific individuals,” she told TechEye.

“This would render the whole idea of 'probable cause' irrelevant - you would be subject to a virtual stop-and-search simply because you happened to walk past a scanner, without even knowing that your privacy had been infringed.”

As with the introduction of any surveillance technology, the arguable pluses would need to be weighed up against the intrusion into personal privacy and liberties.

“Police departments need to think carefully before implementing new technologies,” Draper continued, “balancing the legitimate needs of law enforcement against the privacy rights of innocent citizens.

With the UK, and London in particular, seeing some of the highest densities of CCTV, it wouldn't be a surprise if such monitoring equipment appeals to police departments here, too.

She continued: “Police departments around the world are increasingly keen to adopt new technologies, and the British police are no exception.

“Yet there is very little transparency about the sort of equipment the police are buying and how they are using it, and it is still largely unclear whether the use of these new methods of surveillance by police officers is actually legal under existing communications interception legislation.”

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