Your City is Watching You

Your City is Watching You
“From the first known use of closed-circuit television cameras to monitor crowds in London’s Trafalgar Square during a state visit by the king and queen of Thailand in 1960, urban video surveillance has come a long way. The Brookings Institution calculates that today it would cost $300 million in storage capacity to capture a year’s worth of footage from Chongqinq’s vast camera network. But by 2020, thanks to the steady decline of cost for digital storage devices, that figure could be just $3 million per year. ‘For the first time ever,’ they warn, ‘it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders — every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner.’ What’s worse is the active involvement of American firms like Cisco, which is supplying the city with network technology optimized for video transmission for an undisclosed sum.”

— “Your city is spying on you: From iPhones to cameras, you are being watched right now,” Anthony M. Townsend, Salon [links added]


“Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments,” John Villasenor, Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution


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Image (“Grand Frère à Paris, after Caillebotte”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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