Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Input Devices United States

Chicago's Camera Network Is Everywhere 327

Posted by timothy
from the oh-it's-just-you-big-brother dept.
DesScorp writes "Over the past few years, the City of Chicago has installed video cameras all over the city. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that the city has not only installed its own cameras for law enforcement purposes, but with the aid of IBM, has built a network that possibly links thousands of video surveillance cameras all over Chicago. Possibly, because the city refuses to confirm just how many cameras are in the network. Critics say that Chicago is becoming the city of Big Brother. 'The city links the 1,500 cameras that police have placed in trouble spots with thousands more—police won't say how many—that have been installed by other government agencies and the private sector in city buses, businesses, public schools, subway stations, housing projects and elsewhere. Even home owners can contribute camera feeds. Rajiv Shah, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has studied the issue, estimates that 15,000 cameras have been connected in what the city calls Operation Virtual Shield, its fiber-optic video-network loop.' There are so many camera feeds coming in that police and officials can't monitor them all, but when alerted to a situation, can zoom in on the area affected. The ACLU has requested a total number of video feeds and cameras, but as of yet, this information has not been supplied."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Chicago's Camera Network Is Everywhere

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:09PM (#30150320)

    London has been that way for years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iron-kurton (891451)
      That's why America declared independence.
      • Smash em. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:31PM (#30150582) Journal

        You were at your finest when you told us (Brits) where to stick it. You seem to have lost your way a bit since, unfortunately. You should try and rediscover that spirit and turf out the current lot of people trying to control your lives. Don't be fooled into thinking because they say their your countrymen it makes a difference to whether or not they can tell you what to do. It all still comes down to what you're willing to stand for.
        • Re:Smash em. (Score:4, Informative)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:33PM (#30150610) Journal

          Chicago has been violating the civil rights of it's residents for years in ways that are far more obnoxious than recording public spaces. What makes you think the good people of the windy city are going to grow a backbone at this point?

          • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:50PM (#30150788) Journal

            Chicago has been violating the civil rights of it's residents for years in ways that are far more obnoxious than recording public spaces. What makes you think the good people of the windy city are going to grow a backbone at this point?

            Hope?

          • by sponga (739683)

            I don't think they really care what Chicago does, the people have been violating their own human rights by killing each other for decades now in that city.

            What are you expecting from the 'people' as most of the people with common sense or incentive to do something better with their lives have left their city long ago in the early 70's.

            Have you seen what their city council does and how they act in some of the famous YouTube videos?

            The people in these neighborhoods could care less, these people watch other ki

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by cyn1c77 (928549)

            Chicago has been violating the civil rights of it's residents for years in ways that are far more obnoxious than recording public spaces...

            No they haven't!!!

            Attention Chicago residents, just shoot out every camera lens with your handguns! ...Oh wait a second.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          You wouldn't want to run for US President, would you? :P

          Seriously though, it's true. I think we were pretty good at other times in the past 200 years, but I really dislike the "Europe is where it's happening, why can't we make America more like [insert European country]?" Europe is why people CAME to America...

          Not to say anything a European country does is automatically bad, of course. I guess the main push right now is socialism, which some European countries have *ahem* presumably *ahem* implemented wi

          • Re:Smash em. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @08:37PM (#30151312) Journal

            Your views are fine. Socialism can work well. Capitalism can also work well. But socialist, capitalist or anything else, we all agree that corruption is bad. What you have in the USA today is a debased form of capitalism. What's capitalist about giving enormous amounts of public money to the banks for example? Nothing. The manipulations the federal reserve engages in... You're better off with a low-corruption government that carries out socialist policies than you are with a corrupt "capitalist" one. Because the more it is corrupt, the less it is a model of a workable system (socialism or capitalism) and the more it is a model of redirecting wealth to the powerful. Whatever your preference for economic structuring, you need to clean house. It's true here in the UK and I think it's true in the USA also. And to do this, we need to first make sure we have the power to do so and by preventing the corrupt from having too much power over us.

            Then you're free to build a capitalist utopia. (I recommend yoinking a socialist health care model, though. You're paying through the nose with your insurance based model).
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              But socialist, capitalist or anything else, we all agree that corruption is bad.

              Yup.

              I also think that it seems easier to be corrupt in a socialistic system... or, perhaps, harder to get out.

              Cleaning house sounds like a great idea. As far as the health care thing, the proposed health care "reform" is worse than the current, it would seem...

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by h4rm0ny (722443)

                As far as the health care thing, the proposed health care "reform" is worse than the current, it would seem...

                I suspect that may well be true. And this is speaking as someone who used to work in a socialist health care system and approves of the model. I think (though its hard to tell when the proposal is over a thousand pages long) that what is being pushed in this bill is not socialist health care, nor privatised health care, but public money being ploughed into privatised health care for whatever sense

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by s73v3r (963317)
          I knew it! Obama's birth certificate isn't real! He's a secret Brit!
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by iron-kurton (891451)

          Apologies for starting a flame war with a tongue-in-cheek comment.

          (disclaimer: this apology is also tongue-in-cheek)

          (also, obligatory woosh)

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by DarkofPeace (1672314)
          That's the benefit and weakness of our federal system. Right now it in Chicago Illinois, its not nationwide. Someone will sue and we find out if its legal. Then other states may or may not try it, and maybe have different rules per state. Right now its a pay attention situation not a end of world scenario.
        • Unfortunately. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowskyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @11:45PM (#30152740) Homepage Journal

          You were at your finest when you told us (Brits) where to stick it. You seem to have lost your way a bit since, unfortunately. You should try and rediscover that spirit and turf out the current lot of people trying to control your lives. Don't be fooled into thinking because they say their your countrymen it makes a difference to whether or not they can tell you what to do. It all still comes down to what you're willing to stand for.

          Unfortunately, half the country hates corporations trying to control their lives, and the other half hates the government trying to control their lives, and so we've caught up into so much finger pointing that both corporations and the government control our lives.

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
      Yes. This is very bad. It means the Americans must also be constructing interlinked networks of basilisk guns. http://www.goldengryphon.com/Stross-Concrete.html [goldengryphon.com]. They must think that the awakening of the Great Old Ones is near. Maybe it will occur in December of 2012?
    • by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation.gmail@com> on Thursday November 19, 2009 @12:25AM (#30152964) Journal

      Like its partner city Philadelphia, Chicago is the City of Big Brotherly Love.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by xaxa (988988)

      London has been that way for years.

      No, it hasn't.

      From the article, "[Chicago] links the 1,500 cameras that police have placed in trouble spots with thousands more--police won't say how many--that have been installed by other government agencies and the private sector in city buses, businesses, public schools, subway stations, housing projects and elsewhere. Even home owners can contribute camera feeds." -- but in London, any part of the government that's installed cameras has to say where they are (example [whatdotheyknow.com]), and private sector cameras aren't

  • Use it or Lose it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:10PM (#30150334) Homepage

    They're going to have to disclose them, sooner or later, if they want to use them as evidence.

    With the cameras, wireless technology, and storage so cheap, I've got to think Chicago won't be the first. Some areas in Philly sure could use something like that.

    The SBIR program issued several requests to do something similar in Bagdad, although I don't know if it ever got done.

    They wanted the ability to see a car of bad-guys do something, and follow them in reverse-time back to their hideout.

    • They're going to have to disclose them, sooner or later, if they want to use them as evidence.

      they are probably afraid that if the people of chicago know where they are, they will get stolen....
  • the cry in Chicago under Mayor Daley was "The whole world is watching..."

    Now it looks like his son is having the last laugh!

  • Monitoring (Score:3, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:12PM (#30150364) Homepage Journal

    We had about 200 traffic cameras in my last job. Experienced operators would let the video switch cycle between cameras, one per second. If anything strange happened the change in the regular pattern would be immediately clear.

    Going beyond 200 cameras per person would be difficult IMHO and you couldn't pick up small incidents this way. It was mainly for big changes in traffic patterns like a car crash.

    • That's 75 new high tech jobs created just in surveillance using existing infrastructure. Vote for the big brother stimulus package today!
      • Really just low tech jobs. You are just using human brains as pattern recognition devices. They could outsource the whole job to India, or these days use AI, which might be more expensive.

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:12PM (#30150368) Journal

    London has had the status of having the most CCTVs per capita for ages. Does anyone have a comparison between the cities?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How would there be a comparison, the public does not know how many cameras are connected. The only number provided is a college professors estimate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by debrain (29228)

      Indeed. Not that it's had any discernible effect on crime rates [thisislondon.co.uk] in London.

      In my humble opinion, the money wasted on video cameras would be better spent on health & education for the poor, incentivizing smart people to become police officers by paying them more, and vocational rehabilitation of offenders.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Totenglocke (1291680)

        In my humble opinion, the money wasted on video cameras would be better spent on health & education for the poor, incentivizing smart people to become police officers by paying them more, and vocational rehabilitation of offenders.

        Or the money could be given to decent people who can't afford to move to a better city.

      • vocational rehabilitation of offenders.

        I was with you until there. I'm not sure some offenders actually want to be rehabilitated. Seems repeat-offenses, especially of violent or sexual crimes, is pretty high...

        • by h4rm0ny (722443)

          Seems repeat-offenses, especially of violent or sexual crimes, is pretty high...

          Spend a few years locked up in a confined, overcrowded place with a lot of other moderately violent people and no contact with women, and you'll bet people come out keyed for violence and with trouble relating to women.

          • Spend a few years locked up in a confined, overcrowded place with a lot of other moderately violent people and no contact with women, and you'll bet people come out keyed for violence and with trouble relating to women.

            So what caused their "trouble relating to women" in the first place?

            Rape isn't having "trouble relating to women," by the way. It's having no respect for women (or men, or children, or whatever).

            I'm all for rehabilitation, if possible. I'm also for justice. Rehabilitation should occur after justice. Rehabilitation does not negate justice. Sexually violating a woman, scarring her emotionally (and physically, for that matter) for life, completely messing up her life, etc... that's a lot to be punished fo

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Sebilrazen (870600)

            Seems repeat-offenses, especially of violent or sexual crimes, is pretty high...

            Spend a few years locked up in a confined, overcrowded place with a lot of other moderately violent people and no contact with women, and you'll bet people come out keyed for violence and with trouble relating to women.

            So that's why tech support has all the trouble with the ladies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by StikyPad (445176)

        "Smart" is not a desired quality [ananova.com] in police officers.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      London has had the status of having the most CCTVs per capita for ages. Does anyone have a comparison between the cities?

      This whole point of this article is that nobody knows exactly how many cameras the city is looking at, since they won't disclose the number.

      So I'm pretty sure nobody has a comparison between the cities.

  • Chicago is notorious for mob crimes. Only makes logic hollywood sense to start big brother there, where the FBI [sandiego.edu] was focused in the 1920s...
  • I think this is pretty great, seeing how it can aid in the quick prosecution of criminals, provide evidence for a whole array of crimes... and all that jazz.
  • So you thought you could outdo us on Big Brothering, but we're catching up!
  • I wonder if you could get the raw footage in a public disclosure request. A lot of fun mischief could be had with that data.

  • las vegas has more camers in side the casinos.

    also they have cltv there is that the feed that is not uses for csn+ and has cltv 24/7?

    I want cltv on direct tv in Chicago land.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:20PM (#30150448)

    Mr. Orozco dismisses worries about privacy abuse. The department logs in all users and can monitor what they are doing, he said, assuring accountability. He also said access to the command center is tightly controlled. He declined to discuss specifics of who is allowed inside the center.

    Awesome! In that case, I formally request access to the logs.

    • Well, only people who are logged can read the log. This is to protect accountability and uhhh ensure log integrity.
    • by jamesh (87723)

      Business plan:

      1. Find out where a camera are pointed
      2. Perform some antic in front of the camera that no camera watching monkey could resist putting on youtube (eg "Man getting hit by football in the groin")
      3. When it appears on youtube, take them to court
      4. Profit!

  • by Interoperable (1651953) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:30PM (#30150578)
    *awesome* if Google does it; video will be streamed live to overlay on Google Earth and Street View images. It will happen. Privately owned cameras streaming feeds of public spaces (or privately owned spaces owned by the same organization as the feed) are legal and many exist in the form of security cameras, webcams. The technology to do it is almost available [newscientist.com] and if it can be done it will be done. Soon (many decades) all public space in major urban centers will be visible to anyone, anytime. Okay, maybe *awesome* and scary.
  • So (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jlechem (613317) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @07:31PM (#30150594) Homepage Journal
    What's the crime rate like now? I'm seriously on the fence about this one. They put in new cameras in Pioneer Park (SLC, Utah) and supposedly the drug/gang/prostitution rate dropped dramatically. Of course now everyone pisses and moans because they just moved over a few blocks to the residential neighborhood. So I'm curious how a city wide effort would work and what its results are.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Lets see, we have a murder every few days. Two blocks from my home someone was almost stabbed to death while walking home and I dont even live in one of the "bad" neighborhoods. The first warm weekend of Spring usually means multiple murders as gang members start going outdoors. Chicago is really in the middle of a serious gang epidemic and the cameras are a response to that. Theres a camera box mounted outside most schools, if not all, and on intersections where there is high crime and high gang activitie

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      So I'm curious how a city wide effort would work and what its results are.

      Look at London - the effect appears to be that only a very small subset of crimes are affected, and those are primarily moved to 'blind-spots' between cameras. All the other sorts of crime continues on business as usual. Some will say that this happens because the criminals know that 99.99% of the time no-one is watching the cameras anyway. But, to me at least, that just seems like one more step down the slipperly slope. The same people were the ones saying that just having cameras would be a pancea its

  • Crap (Score:2, Funny)

    by AP31R0N (723649)

    How am I supposed to commit my crimes in privacy now?

  • People Tracking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's not just the street corner cameras and private cameras that are linked to the system, it also includes the red light traffic cameras, which are popping up everywhere.

    I work for a utility company in Chicago and I attended a presentation about a year and a half ago where the Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC) was bragging about what they can do with their camera network. They can already track a license plate from camera to camera throughout the city, and within the next year or so (

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @08:00PM (#30150898)

    I've actually been inside of the NOC where all of the camera feeds come in. There are random terminal sitting around that anyone with NOC access can just walk over and use. There is no log in, or they were already logged in and left logged in all the time.

    The emergency response HQ in Chicago is just what you'd expect, full of arcane, insane, nonsensical rules and procedures that are so bad if you fell down the rabbit hole you'd be less confused.

    There's no way having this much surveillance in the hands of the state should be acceptable unless all private citizens also have the same access. If, as Mr. Orozco stated, that all cameras are located in an area where the public has no expectation of privacy, then why shouldn't anyone in the world be able to see any camera at any time?

    The whole city government in Chicago is nothing but a bunch of bottom feeding tax sucking bureauRats lying through their teeth on a daily basis.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @08:08PM (#30150994) Homepage

    ... is not the cameras. In the US, wherever you go there are armed police who are allowed to shoot and kill you, for any reason they feel like. Fix that, then worry about CCTV cameras.

  • Rust... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @08:10PM (#30151014)
    Have no fear, the whole system will rust out and degenerate into a massive maintenance head-ache in no time, at which point it will be quietly put out to pasture.
  • by s800 (940543) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @08:21PM (#30151114)
    Some republican wanna jump in and tell us how the ACLU is the source of all that is anti-American?
  • I hope they have several inside the Governor's Mansion. The are guaranteed to catch a felon there.

  • This explosion in the installation of IP cameras will continue as the technology matures , networks and bandwidth increase and hopefully the cameras become more open source with their embedded operating systems.

    This should be about efficiency , with all law enforcement cameras sending a stream to a large central system that can apply AI and identify faces , licience plates , clothing and even gaits . Public Buses , taxis , police vehicles , council vehicles also should all have cameras feeding live strea
  • by IonOtter (629215) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @09:51PM (#30151954) Homepage

    How to find them all?

    Easy.

    1. Create a fake Google profile. Be sure to use several Tor proxies to make sure you can't be traced back, and LOG OUT OF YOUR CURRENT GOOGLE PROFILE!!! Make sure you continue to use Tor for the entire operation.
    2. Go to maps.google.com
    3. Click My Maps
    4. Create new map, make it public.
    5. Title: Chicago IP Surveillance Camera locations
    6. Description: This map is to pinpoint the location of all video cameras being used in the city of Chicago. If you know of a camera that's being used to watch a public area, add the address to this map, along with a brief description of where it is, what its watching and what it looks like.
    7. Click "collaborate"
    8. Select "allow anyone to edit this map"
    9. Publish the map

    Done. Now just sit back and let John Q Public fill in all the little details.

    You can also use Wikimapia, which is now moderated.

"Gotcha, you snot-necked weenies!" -- Post Bros. Comics

Working...