Memo: New York Called For Face Recognition Cameras At Bridges, Tunnels

by Kevin Collier |
January 28, 2017

The state of New York has privately asked surveillance companies to pitch a vast camera system that would scan and identify people who drive in and out of New York City, according to a December memo obtained by Vocativ.

The call for private companies to submit plans is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s major infrastructure package, which he introduced in October. Though much of the related proposals would be indisputably welcome to most New Yorkers — renovating airports and improving public transportation — a little-noticed detail included installing cameras to “test emerging facial recognition software and equipment.”

“This is a highly advanced system they’re asking for,” said Clare Garvie, an associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Privacy and Technology, and who specializes in police use of face recognition technologies. “This is going to be terabytes — if not petabytes — of data, and multiple cameras running 24 hours a day. In order to be face recognition compliant they probably have to be pretty high definition.”

Cuomo’s office didn’t respond to multiple requests for clarification in the ensuing weeks after his announcement. But a memo from the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Bridges and Tunnels division, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that on December 12, the MTA put out a call to an unknown group of private vendors of surveillance equipment. The proposed system would both scan drivers as they approached or crossed most of the city’s bridges and tunnels at high speeds, and would also capture and pair those photos with the license plates of their cars.

3 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • Linda Joy Adams says:

    Lynn Blodgett, the ruler of the USA is among those private vendors and as a government contractor is not subject to the laws of the land. No internal audits and no criminal investigations. etc. permitted by act of Congress in the COUP of 2002 when they voted no existing budget can be spent to over see loss of rights and abuse of power and thefts of the public treasury.. If the real government was snooping they could be prosecuted for misuse of the info.. but its loss of our basic privacy even then.. A city official in Chicago was sent to jail for taking a bribe from this cabal.. but the giver was not prosecuted as immune? So no contract should be given with out real government oversight.. Linda Joy Adams

  • Dee says:

    Pretty Creepy stuff , but when you’ve let in so many people that the Intel community is bogged down with cases they probably need all the help they can get . Just Another example of what it costs all of us when Our Country had been run by extremists . No
    More . TRUMP/PENCE

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