The End of Privacy: Police Film Entire City of Compton (VIDEO)

Our generation could be the last to enjoy any degree of privacy whatsoever.


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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been experimenting with technology that could bring Americans’ privacy to a final and dystopian end.

In 2012, police used high-powered aerial cameras to videotape the entire city of Compton for periods of up to six hours.

Ross McNutt, head of the Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems, markets the technology. “We literally watched all of Compton during the time that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” says McNutt.

The system enables police to rewind and zoom in on people who they weren’t watching in real time. “Imagine Google Earth with a rewind button and the ability to play back the movement of cars and people as they scurry about the city,” says the Center for Investigative Reporting.

comp2Residents of Compton were not told about the surveillance. “A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother,” says LA County Sheriff Sgt. Doug Iketani. “So in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush.”

Iketani’s comments bring to mind a recent Princeton and Northwestern study that concluded that America is an oligarchy. Iketani, a public servant, blatantly says that he concealed his actions from the public because he knew the public would disapprove of them.

McNutt boasts that “Our whole system costs less than the price of a single police helicopter.” McNutt’s Hollywood-esque surveillance system means that the government is closer than we might think to total, all-seeing omniscience.

The federal surveillance apparatus increasingly possesses a near-limitless capacity for data storage. The NSA’s Utah data center requires a three million gallon water tank just to cool its computers and holds an estimated five zettabytes of data – equivalent to 62.5 billion iPhones. In theory, this is enough space to store every email, Google search and surveillance camera video in America.trace

With technology like McNutt’s, the government could soon track not only your phone calls, but every step of your entire life.

Even Iketani says he initially had his reservations about the system. “Our first initial thought was, oh, Big Brother, we’re going to have a camera flying over us,” says Iketani. “But with the wide area surveillance you would have the ability to solve a lot of the unsolvable crimes with no witnesses, no videotape surveillance, no fingerprints.”

Iketani forgets the reason that America’s founders gave us a government with limited powers: people in power are human and cannot be trusted. A completely omniscient government would be an institution of immutable and unaccountable power. There would be no hope for recourse from abuse. The American people would find themselves at the mercy of whoever got behind the wheel.


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