Big Brother To Set Up Atlanta Surveillance Center; Cameras To Watch Citizens

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
By Paul Martin

Atlanta OKs surveillance center; cameras to watch city

By Ernie Suggs
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, July 18, 2011

Big Brother is coming to Atlanta. Or is it a watchful eye that will make walking city streets safer?

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council approved a measure to network and monitor thousands of public and privately owned security cameras throughout Atlanta.

The cameras and images will be part of a new multi-million dollar video integration center, designed to compile and analyze footage from the network..

To start, images from as many as 500 cameras — some city-owned and some private — are expected to flow into the center, providing images from Piedmont Park to Underground Atlanta. The center will use software that can identify “suspicious” behavior and allow monitors to quickly deploy public safety personnel. The software is also capable of pinpointing where gunshots originate from.

The center is being built by a $2.6 million federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department. The Atlanta Police Foundation – which funds the camera network operated by the Midtown Blue, a private security agency — is also raising money to operate the center. The city has not determined yet how much it will cost to operate the center annually, but the Council is committed to establishing virtually blanket video monitoring of the city.

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