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News Link • Surveillance

Chicago's citizen surveillance the most extensive & integrated in US


One legacy of Rahm Emanuel is digitally clear. Security cameras will follow us like a bad credit rating.

The Missile’s bravura early performance includes a drastic increase in cameras to protect us from bad guys and to keep us from breaking laws, notably speeding, even while surely accelerating a loss of individual privacy.

The city’s traditional lack of transparency on the extent of cameras, and a legacy of illegal surveillance dating to Mayor Richard J. Daley, are woeful. But the public is more interested in Jay Cutler’s thumb than in potential abuses of zoom technology, facial recognition, biometrics, the ability to track somebody from one camera to another and then combining or sharing databases.

Last week the mayor stood with Police Chief Garry McCarthy, and Forrest Claypool, the head of the Chicago Transit Authority, as they rightly praised rapid installation of another 1,700 C.T.A security cameras.

But now add several thousand more cameras planned near schools and parks — meant to catch speeders endangering children — and you’ve got a hefty increase in what was already the most “extensive and integrated” surveillance system in the United States, according to Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary.

A February report by the American Civil Liberties Union estimated that Chicago had 10,000 surveillance cameras. Let’s now figure on another 4,000 or so.


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