Way back in 2017, I wrote about tech companies working together to create 360- degree police surveillance vehicles complete with facial recognition. This has now become a reality.
As the above video shows, the Wausau Police Department is already using Ford’s 360-degree police surveillance vehicles to quietly surveil everyone.
According to Yahoo News the New York City Police Department (NYPD), which employees more people than the FBI, has announced it is turning all their police vehicles into 360-degree surveillance vehicles.
The department is in the process of redesigning its fleet of patrol vehicles, which will now have 360-degree cameras installed in them for constant monitoring of the streets, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Wednesday.
To put the public’s mind at ease of having 11,000 spying police vehicles monitor everyone, the NYPD has decided to put QR codes on their new patrol cars.
Each car will also have a QR code printed on the outside of the vehicle that the public can scan and connect to the NYPD’s websites.
Sewell said the new design will “ensure the safety of our officers, have a QR code to improve customer service and a revamped interior for more efficient and comfortable work environment for our officers.”
If and when the public finally cares about losing their privacy, all they have to do is scan a police vehicle’s QR code. This will bring them to a carefully worded law enforcement website that will reassure them that the government really cares about their privacy and that 360-degree surveillance cameras are for the public’s safety.
When a concerned citizen approaches a 360-degree police surveillance vehicle, they may be surprised to find out what is really happening inside.
Ford’s Police Interceptors come with a factory-installed version of “Surveillance Mode” or a built-in “Police Perimeter Alert” that automatically analyzes people for officer perceived threats. Because nothing says public safety like an AI that automatically analyzes people for so-called threatening behavior.
Police Perimeter Alert is a much-improved, factory-installed version of Surveillance Mode. It uses BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) sensors for approximately 270-degree monitoring outside of the vehicle and analyzes the motion to determine if a behavior is a potential threat. It features a visual display in the instrument panel cluster that shows moving objects, the motion trail and potential threat level. When potentially threatening behavior is detected, it also will sound a chime, activate the Rear View Camera, and automatically roll up the windows and lock the doors.
How does Ford’s Police Perimeter Alert determine someone is a threat? Ford’s Police Interceptor owners manual is purposefully vague about how their Police Perimeter Alert determines someone or something is a threat to a police officer.
Page 63 of the owners manual says “the Police Perimeter Alert System is primarily intended to monitor moving pedestrians but also detects objects like vehicles and bikes. Fast vehicles, stationary objects and small objects like birds may also be ignored.”
The owners manual says Ford’s Police Perimeter Alert System has three settings low, medium and high without explaining what the differences are.
The owners manual also warns that “sensor reflections from stationary objects may cause false objects to briefly appear on the Police Perimeter Alert System display.’
Things like dirt, mud, snow and rain could automatically roll up a police officers windows and lock their doors sending them into panic mode thinking they are being targeted by an unassuming citizen. This could be deadly for anyone on a bike or standing near a Ford Police Interceptor.
Ford’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross-Traffic Alert is also cause for concern. Police vehicles using Ford’s BLIS can “pick up a vehicle moving at least 5 mph within a 45-foot range – or five parking spaces – from either the left or right side of the vehicle.”
Combine Ford’s BLIS with police 360-degree surveillance cameras and license plate readers and you are only scratching the surface of what Ford’s new public surveillance vehicles are capable of.
Will the NYPD use facial recognition to turn their police cars into Orweillan nightmare cars?
Sewell claimed that the NYPD has no current plans to equip their new 360-degree surveillance vehicles with facial recognition.
As recently as 2020 the NYPD openly used facial recognition to ID suspects, so I wouldn’t put too much faith in their promise not to install it in their new surveillance vehicles.
The privacy ramifications of turning police cars into 360-degree surveillance vehicles means that everyone becomes a suspect in the government’s eyes. Moms with baby strollers, dog walkers, bike riders, pedestrians, motorists and their passengers and public transit passengers all become suspects in the eyes of America’s unchecked police surveillance state.
Soon, a Police Interceptor will be driving around your neighborhood recording families playing with their children or secretly recording them getting ice cream at a local store.
Police in America are not as obvious as their European counterparts when it comes to putting surveillance cameras on their vehicles as this picture illustrates.
And that is what makes Ford’s new Police Interceptor so insidious. Ford was smart enough to conceal its 360-degree cameras to make police vehicles look like any other SUV driving down America’s streets.
Do you think the public would accept it if Ford attached four CCTV cameras to the roof of their new police vehicles? No. Not a chance.
And that is why this is so dangerous. Having 11,000 police surveillance vehicles quietly monitoring the public should raise alarms everywhere.
Police departments like Little Rock, Spokane, Maryland County, Washington DC and Waco can’t seem to get enough Ford Police Interceptors. As the Ford Media Center put it, ‘police agencies are lining up to purchase Police Interceptors’.
From New England to Southern California, orders for the Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid are piling up. Agencies in cities such as San Diego, Columbus, Ohio, and Madison, Wisconsin, have committed to adding hybrids to their law enforcement fleets.
Below is a list of seven things that should worry everyone about Police Interceptors:
Who is watching what police vehicles are recording (Fusion Centers)?
How long do police store each vehicles videos for?
How will police officers react to Police Perimeter Alerts?
What is the difference between low, medium and high Police Perimeter Alert settings?
How does Ford’s AI determine if someone or something is a threat to a police officer?
Why are police officers recording who is behind them?
360-degree police surveillance vehicles will erode everyone’s privacy.
Ford’s Police Interceptors appear to be designed for one singular purpose: public surveillance. And that should worry everyone.
Image credit: Agent Tyler Durden (PSNI)