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Connecticut’s New Drone and Surveillance Program Is An Orwellian Nightmare

Published: December 1, 2017
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By Nicholas West

Hartford – While a battle has been raging for years in Los Angeles, California over a proposal to give drones to the LAPD for use in limited circumstances such as counter-terrorism and hostage rescue, Hartford, Connecticut is apparently embracing the broadest possible scope for their new program of drones and surveillance cameras.

Unlike L.A., which saw fierce resistance mounted by civil liberties groups and activists such as the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, there seems to be no such pushback in Hartford – in fact, part of the program involves citizen cooperation.

The Hartford program is an expansion of a fusion center network that is already in place called the Real-Time Crime and Data Intelligence Center. The current matrix of more than 700 cameras will receive an influx of $2.5 million more in 2018 to boost the number of cameras, as well as expand their presence into even more private areas:

Police are also partnering with residents to put cameras outside homes, offering better visibility of smaller streets. Residents can link the footage into the city’s network.

(Police Chief) Foley said some Hartford dwellers have already contacted the department about participating. Officers will determine what the need is in each area.

One might be excused for wishing to boost surveillance in order to thwart violence in documented high-crime areas, but the new program goes far beyond identification and quick response. In fact, it is admittedly going to be used for pre-crime detection as well as social engineering to better control what they are euphemistically calling “quality-of-life issues.”

Here are the supposedly outrageous threats and concerns that are being used to justify a completely Orwellian matrix of total surveillance and control.

  • New software will be used to analyze crime and traffic patterns and capture suspects.
  • Police will use the technology to crack down on quality-of-life issues, such as illegal dumping, ATVs and dirt bikes, motor vehicle violations, narcotics markets, car break-ins and larcenies.
  • “If a camera is watching a neighborhood and sees constant traffic going in and out of a doorway, it can tell that that’s where the drugs are being purchased.” — Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley
  • “It’ll help tell us where people are crossing the streets, where the most dangerous areas for pedestrians are. There’s so much they can build into it.”
  • Instead of engaging in high speed chases, police will now send drones to follow cars or ATVs.
  • The drones will monitor festivals, concerts, marathons and other public events in Hartford.
  • Footage from hundreds of cameras is fed into the center, and workers compile information from license-plate readers and a ShotSpotter system that tracks the sound of gunfire.

I hope I am mistaken in saying that there is not currently any resistance to the imposition of this spy network. The city claims that they still need to properly create the policy to incorporate drones into the network, so people need to speak up quickly if they care.

If any readers know of local civil liberties groups or activists doing their best to see that proper restraints are placed upon Hartford police, please leave the information in the comment section.

Source: Hartford Courant

 

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