Posted by Roger Mallett Posted on 18 December 2020

Police Body Cams, Public Surveillance And Fusion Centers

I didn’t think too much about it when news broke about a police department creating another cam-share program.After all, I have written a half dozen stories about police cam-share programs over the years, including one about DHS’s exclusive “Platinum” cam-share program in New Orleans.“The New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation’s SafeCam NOLA program, which allows residents to register their cameras with NOPD, recently launched its “platinum” program that connects cameras to the Real-Time Crime Center. The program debuted in October, and itspublic launch is among 2019 budget priorities with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, along with the other surveillance camera expansions.”

But a couple of things from a recent NBC News story about a cam-share program in Jackson, Mississippi caught my attention.

“Strapped for cash and facing a sharp rise in homicides, city leaders here are expanding police surveillance powers to allow residents and business owners to send live feeds from many types of security cameras — including popular doorbell cameras — directly to the city’s real-time command center.”

Livestreaming video surveillance to a police department is not inherently suspicious until you see who’s behind it.

The Jackson Police Departments’ real-time command center or fusion center would not be possible without Fusus.

“The new use of this livestreaming technology by police, which is undergoing a final legal review in Jackson, is drawing interest from other small cities that don’t have the resources to build their own surveillance systems.”

“The move made Jackson, which has struggled to keep up with advances in high-tech crime-fighting, one of two dozen places in the country where police agencies inked deals this year with Fusus, a small Georgia company that aims to make it easier for American law enforcement agencies to build networks of public and private security cameras.”

And that it where things become interesting or disturbing, depending on your views about privacy.

Fusus bills itself as “RTC3 or a Real-Time Crime Center in the Cloud.” Fusus combines video with real-time officer geolocator feeds using “Pileum” police body cameras.

According to Pileum’s website there are at least 5 police departments including the Jackson Police Department using Pileum’s body cameras.

As NBC News mentioned, “Fusus, goes a step further than other surveillance systems by allowing police real-time access to home security systems, but does not offer or integrate with facial recognition technology.”

Police have the ability to track a person or person’s by the clothing they are wearing, by the way they walk (gait tracking) and they can ID and track any vehicle. All without a warrant. And no one is the wiser.

“What we’ll be able to do is get a location, draw a circle around it and pull up every camera within a certain radius,” Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said.

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