A Digital Stop and Frisk - Newark, New Jersey’s new street surveillance program is a disaster in the making

“…Citizen Virtual Patrol… allows people from anywhere in the world to watch high-definition live feeds from 62 surveillance cameras installed across the city. If someone sees something that they think looks like criminal activity, they are encouraged to call 911 so the Newark Police Department can dispatch officers to the location of the camera. (Observers from outside of the area are encouraged to call Newark police directly.)”

A network of surveillance cameras is one thing, and potentially problematic enough but this, this, is something else entirely.

Will police respond to all calls? Or will they review footage before deciding whether/how to respond? Do authorities have any protocol in place for when (not if) people use the system to stalk or harass people? (Did anyone think this through at all??)

well that’s horrifying

Yeah, seriously, I don’t even know what to say.

Wow, it’s like a bingo card with everything that could possibly go wrong ticked off. You’ve got overbroad surveillance, you’ve got a concentration of cameras in black and brown neighborhoods, you’ve got a crowdsourcing system seemingly designed to maximize bias and discrimination, you’ve got a local police force with a history of civil rights violations. This is a total quagmire, and it’s a perfect real world example of what Kade was talking about vis a vis mission creep, unintended consequences, and the ways that these systems perpetuate discriminatory practices.

This is terrifying. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the NextDoor app, but the one for my neighborhood is full of ppl constantly chattering and unfairly profiling people based on appearance alone (whether it be the type of car they drive, hairstyles, skin, etc.). It’s bad enough when posts are just based on what people have observed. Lot’s of misinformation and fear mongering. I can’t imagine what it would be like if those type of busybodies got hold of something like this.

I’ve never heard of NextDoor, @AllyM. I’m looking at their site right now. Sounds…weird. I’m thinking about making an account just to see what’s happening. lol

Yes, I find the chatter on NextDoor disturbing and often appalling @AllyM and @josh. One positive thing that resulted in my work neighborhood, partly in response to the profiling done through NextDoor, is the creation of a Neighbors for Racial Justice group with a focus on connection rather than policing.