Police expand push for control of private and public cameras

Adan Salazar
February 28, 2014

It’s not enough the Austin Police Department has surveillance cameras mounted in nearly every corner of the city. Police are now pushing to gain access to security cameras inside Austin Independent School District public schools.

The move comes as the department announces a sprawling surveillance rollout that hopes to add a myriad of cameras to city streets. Predictably, APD purports its efforts will make Austin schools safer.

Austin Independent School District's Carruth Administration Center building. / Image: KEYE
Austin Independent School District’s Carruth Administration Center building. / Image: KEYE

The department already has 39 HALO (High Activity Location Observation) cameras installed throughout Austin, which surreptitiously monitor in real time Austin residents’ mundane routines. But that’s not enough.

Access to school video feeds would be a necessary component in thwarting would-be school shooters, APD Chief Art Acevedo contends. “When you look at the issue of active shooters, and they come in and try to hurt our kids.. the Austin Police Department, in a very short order, will be able to know what’s going on,” Acevedo said, reported KEYE News.

Citizens concerned the cameras will violate their privacy needn’t worry, the police chief says, because his department’s camera feeds “would never tap into private places.”

Using the HALO camera system, Austin cops surveil two potential terrorists. / Image: KEYE
Using the HALO camera system, Austin cops surveil two potential terrorists. / Image: KEYE

Naturally, the chief’s reassurances are doing nothing to calm privacy advocates.

“Where does it end?” Jim Harrington, the Director of The Texas Civil Rights Project asked. “Are we eventually going to end up in a police state? And a police state is when people watch you all the time. It’s crazy.”

APD’s move to monitor school children is just one more way the public school system is used to condition young Americans to accept the shackles of a prison-like culture where constant surveillance is a normal part of everyday life, and where guilty until proven innocent is standard fare.

APD soon hopes to spy on schoolchildren, like they do the residents of Austin. / Image: KEYE
APD soon hopes to spy on schoolchildren, like they do the residents of Austin. / Image: KEYE

Alluding to renowned statesman Benjamin Franklin’s immortal quote, KEYE’s report ends essentially asking viewers if they’re yet ready to surrender privacy in exchange for security. “In the end, the question will continue to be: are you willing to accept a close watchful eye in exchange for safer streets?” asks KEYE’s Cassie Gallo.

So, do more cameras actually make anyone safer? If so, that would make the UK the safest place on earth, right? The British Security Industry Authority (BSIA) estimates there are as many as 5.9 million cameras there, or one for every 11 people.

Yet, despite blanket surveillance, the UK still has the highest homicide rate in all of Northern Europe.

Moreover, a review by the London police department regarding the effectiveness of surveillance found, “For every 1,000 cameras in London, less than one crime is solved per year.”

And furthermore, a 2005 report put out by the British government also found that surveillance cameras “produced no overall effect” on crime.

“Having a pit bull in your house may keep away burglars. That doesn’t mean you should get one for each room,” rationalizes Reason.com’s Steve Chapman. “The more cameras, and the more cops watching the feeds, the more potential for waste.”

RELATED: School’s New Spy System Places Children Under Complete Surveillance

Watch Infowars’ special report on how the surveillance state apparatus is expanding under the guise of rolling out “smart” and “energy efficient” appliances.

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