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You’re Being Watched: Microsoft and NYC Team Up on Domain Awareness System

by Todd Haselton | August 8, 2012August 8, 2012 9:00 pm PST

surveillance-camerasNew York City has increased its security measures since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It’s obvious everywhere I go, from the police stands in subways to the random bag checks. It makes me feel comfortable. I didn’t know that there are also 3,000 cameras watching the city at all times, but AllThingsD said that’s the case, too. Now, Microsoft and New York City have teamed up on a new software platform called “Domain Awareness System.” It almost sounds like something out of 1984 or Brave New World.

The system will be used to fight everyday crime now, instead of existing solely as a way to prevent large scale terror attacks. Apparently, it will make the huge gobs of data, that the eyes all over the city are recording, easier for investigators to dig through. AllThingsD said that, in one example, the cameras around the city could keep track of a specific license plate as it either fled the scene of a crime or navigated the busy streets. A pedestrian might not be able to catch the plate, but those cameras certainly can. It seems plausible that those same cameras could keep track of even more specific. What if it’s looking for someone with blonde hair in a red t-shirt and jeans around the Penn Station area? I’m not sure if that’s beyond the system’s capabilities, but it’s a scary thought if you’re concerned about privacy.

The data can also provide officers with the specific amount of crimes in a specific area. Mayor Bloomberg told reporters that, while Microsoft actually did the coding, the NYPD worked to describe exactly what it wanted the Domain Awareness System to act like. AllThingsD said that Microsoft plans to license the software to other police forces and that New York will receive 30% of the profits on every sale Microsoft executes.

[via AllThingsD]


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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