"In aggregate, the photographs appear quite banal. In some ways that’s the terror-our own police department thought it necessary to map entire communities of people for no other reason than who they are or where they worship."
With the launch of a higher-end surveillance camera, Dropcam signaled it is broadening its focus to become a platform for connected homes. Unveiled Thursday, Dropcam Pro ($199) offers substantial hardware and software upgrades over its nearly two-year-old predecessor, which the company will continue to offer at $149. Most notably, with the inclusion of a Bluetooth low-energy radio in Dropcam Pro, the company has opened up the potential for the camera to communicate with and receive cues from other sensors.
“They were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked…”
Michele Catalano, a writer for Death and Taxes, was searching Google to compare pressure cookers to buy. Then, as she writes for Medium, six men in plainclothes came to her house in a SUV.
The New York Police Department and Microsoft have devised a terrorism detection system that will also generate profit for the city.
Although DAS is officially being touted as an anti-terrorism solution, it will also give the NYPD access to technologies that—depending on the individual’s perspectives—veer on science fiction or Big Brother to combat street crime. The City of New York and Microsoft will be licensing DAS out to other cities; according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s government will take a 30% cut of any profits. “Citizens do not like higher taxes, so we will (find other revenue outlets),” said Bloomberg. Bloomberg continued that “I hope Microsoft sells a lot of copies of this system, because 30% of the profits will go to us.”
At a Congressional hearing this morning that veered into contentious arguments and cringe-worthy moments, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spilled the beans on their social media monitoring project.
DHS Chief Privacy Office Mary Ellen Callahan and Director of Operations Coordination and Planning Richard Chavez appeared to be deliberately stonewalling Congress on the depth, ubiquity, goals, and technical capabilities of the agency’s social media surveillance. At other times, they appeared to be themselves unsure about their own project’s ultimate goals and uses. But one thing is for sure: If you’re the first person to tweet about a news story, or if you’re a community activist who makes public Facebook posts—DHS will have your personal information.