DC Police Merge with YouTube — UPDATE

DC Police Merge with YouTube

Okay, not YouTube, but the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is adding video feeds from other District of Columbia Government agencies to the 92 crime “hot spot” cameras it already operates, bringing the network total to 5,200 closed-circuit cameras.

The new network, Video Interoperability for Public Safety (VIPS) was announced by Mayor Fenty and Darrell Darnell, director of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), the agency in change of neighborhood block parties, which will now manage VIPS.

HSEMA has absolutely nothing about VIPS on its website, demonstrating its level of preparedness. Those of us who have worked in post-production eagerly await further VIPS details (dibs on the theme and soundtrack!).

DCist and its commenters have cogent observations about this undertaking.

UPDATE: Dorothy Brizill at DC Watch points out:

More than three thousand of the cameras are in DCPS facilities. As you know, there is a great effort made to protect the privacy of children in the schools, and a volume of the municipal regulations addresses the school system. For example, in order for a news outlet to take a camera into a school, it has to get the permission, not only of the principal, but also of the chancellor. While school cameras are now used only by school personnel on an in-school basis, under this proposal students would be surveilled by Homeland Security employees away from school campuses, violating the privacy of school children.

Ms. Brazill also points out some budgetary abd procedural issues.

I haven’t looked at the books, but congressional fearmongers have foisted millions on newly-formed state and local government “Homeland Insecurity” agencies faster than they can be spent. It may be that HSEMA has lots of unspent federal grant money, so the costly VIPS program will be based there to help spend it down. This may not be the end-run around the Council Ms. Brazill suggests.

I imagine Artie Spitzer of the ACLU will have something to say about VIPS. Stay tuned.

Image by Mike Licht. Creative Commons license. Download a copy here. The red light is on; how’s my hair?

One Response to “DC Police Merge with YouTube — UPDATE”

  1. Eyeballs on the Beat « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] Washington, DC, municipal authorities recently moved to consolidate all 5262 closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance systems under the District of […]

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