Surveillance technologies proliferate at what cost to civil liberities?

Big Brother is hovering. Sensity, a private company, is building an infrastructure that could create a world network of smart streetlights with sensors capable of tracing moisture, light seismic activity, radiation, wind temperature, air quality, and cell phone use. It also utilizes audio and high-definition video. All of it could send a huge data collection to a cloud. Sensity CEO Hugh Martin says  he’s shying away from the federal government, but it remains to be seen if the feds can maintain hands off. (Reuters, October 30, 2013, by Venture Beat)

In the meantime, the FBI is assessing ways to use video recognition technology to identify suspects. The technology would allow them to bypass the manual process of viewing video to find the Boston Marathon bombers, a time-consuming task, and use speedy video analytics instead. (NextGov, November 4, 2013, by Aliya Sternstein)

Sensity’s Martin says he wants to meet with the American Civil Liberties Union to work out guidelines to protect privacy rights. The ACLU says we must act to curb these invasive technologies that threaten to chill civil liberties, including free speech, “Ultimately, the fear is that we become a society riddled with rigid enforcement of petty rules, and where our public lives become weighed down by an oppressive sense of constant monitoring and control,” writes Jay Stanley, ACLU, November 13, 2013.