Very soon if you live, work or visit downtown New York city, you will be captured by one or more of the new cameras the city is installing as part of its new monitoring system. According to the Wall Street Journal, the two partners have created a system that will link virtually all of the city’s vast video and data information as scans are made of city streets. The new system, Bloomberg says, will make it almost impossible to get away with a crime committed on the city’s public streets.
The Journal says that in addition to simply pointing cameras at streets, sidewalks and entryways, and watching what is going on, the video that is recorded will be connected with other information the city is already collecting. One of those is facial profiling. Special software written by Microsoft allows for picking out faces in a crowed and comparing them against a database of photos or video already on file. Others are license plates, arrest records and crime statistics.
Having all of the data that the city collects available for use in one system will allow for such things as building an instant map on the fly based on the face of a person walking down the street. The map could should all of the crimes committed in a certain area of which that person was a suspect. Or because cars can also be recognized by other features besides license plates, officers could ask the system to show them all instances of where that car has ever appeared on a city street, particularly, around the time a crime was committed, if it’s driver is a suspect.
The system, officially called the Domain Awareness System, is already being installed, and the Journal says that New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, couldn’t be happier about it. He told the Journal that he expects the new system to help the police department to further reduce the amount of crime that goes on in the city. He added that the system will be far superior to anything else being utilized anywhere and that a lot of the credit for it goes to the police officials who worked very closely with Microsoft to design the system. In other words, he added, it gives police what they want, rather than have an outside system foisted on them.
In addition to adding new components, the system will take advantage of existing equipment already in use in New York and software developed by Microsoft for previous endeavors to help keep costs down. Neither side has yet released any numbers indicating just how much the whole system will have cost once completed.