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California Is Getting More Traffic Surveillance Cameras

It’s no secret the Bay Area in Northern California has become a hotbed of criminal activity, especially the East Bay. That’s why some people are super excited about the state installing 480 Flock cameras that have resolution good enough to reportedly read the bumper sticker on a car that’s passing by.

Five suspects flee police in a C7 Corvette.

Surely this amazing technology will only be used for good, like busting all the violent criminals and catching car thieves. California Governor Gavin Newsom said at a press conference the cameras are “proven technology” which would be instrumental in catching those who break the law, as covered by ABC7 News Bay Area.

We’ve seen these cameras used elsewhere and while they have helped catch criminals, including car thieves, the technology is controversial. Not everyone loves increased government surveillance since they feel this could be used to track the movements of all citizens.

After all, in some parts of the country authorities are doing just that. If the artificial intelligence the government uses concludes your movements indicate you might be trafficking drugs or doing something else illegal, police will then pull you over.

We know of at least one case where Flock cameras picked up a stolen Camaro in a neighborhood, which allegedly had been used in several armed robberies. When police showed up, they descended on the wrong car, holding two teenagers at gunpoint.

Perhaps the technology works well, but that doesn’t mean the people interpreting what the technology tells them don’t ever screw up.

There’s also the chance for mission creep. After all, New York City has used cameras to bust drivers who have cars deemed as too loud, with Chicago recently following that same path.

If your city hasn’t started using Flock cameras, that might change in the near future. It’s far from just California leaning hard on this technology as everything from homicides to home break-ins and car theft has governments reaching for anything to give them an edge. But any technology can be abused by the wrong people in power, so we think caution should be exercised.

Image via ABC7 News Bay Area/YouTube

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