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NYPD, Microsoft create crime-fighting technology; city could make millions in business deal

Published: February 20, 2013
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Source: Newser

A 911 call comes in about a possible bomb in lower Manhattan and an alert pops up on computer screens at the New York Police Department, instantly showing officers an interactive map of the neighborhood, footage from nearby security cameras, whether there are high radiation levels and whether any other threats have been made against the city.

Such a hypothetical scenario may seem like something out of a futuristic crime drama, but the technology is real, developed in a partnership between the nation’s largest police department and Microsoft Corp., and the latest versionhas been quietly in use for about a year.

The project could pay off in more ways than one: The NYPD could make tens of millions of dollars under an unprecedented marketing deal that allows Microsoft to sell the system to other law enforcement agencies and civilian companies around the world. The city will get a 30 percent cut.

The Domain Awareness System, known as “the dashboard,” instantaneously mines data from the police department’s voluminous arrest records, 911 calls, more than 3,000 security cameras citywide, license plate readers and portable radiation detectors, and assembles it in an easy-to-use form.

Right now, it is used only in NYPD offices, mostly in the counterterrorism unit. Eventually, the system could supply crime-fighting information in real time to officers on laptops in their squad cars and on mobile devices while they walk the beat.

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