Can you imagine a city in the United States secretly creating a Chinese-style public surveillance network that can identify everyone? Can you imagine that same city secretly creating a Chinese-style public watchlisting network?

Well imagine no more because it has already happened.

When I wrote about "covert facial recognition street lights coming to a city near you" last year, I never would have dreamt that my article would become a reality so quickly.

A recent article in the San Diego Reader reveals how a hacker discovered emails between the Port of San Diego and BriefCam. The emails revealed that law enforcement is secretly using a network of 400 facial recognition surveillance cameras to identify everyone. (Click here to view a map of where all 3,200 spying street lights are located.)

Last year, BriefCam announced a "breakthrough" in real-time facial recognition surveillance.

"Robust multi-camera search capabilities identify men, women, children and vehicles with speed and precision, using 25 classes and attributes, face recognition, appearance similarity, color, size, speed, path, direction, and dwell time."

According to another article, the City of San Diego is using GE's CityIQ street lights to listen to everyone.

In 2017, civil rights advocates sent a letter to the mayor and city council asking the city not to install GE's streetlights.

“Devices capable of monitoring and recording residents invade privacy, chill free speech, and disparately impact communities of color."

But as the article revealed, San Diego ignored the public's concerns and secretly installed 3200 spying GE streetlights.

GE's spying streetlights have effectively "turned the city into a stealthy laboratory for infrastructure-embedded intelligence collecting with devices regularly used by the DEA, ICE and other security agencies." (To learn more about San Diego's spying streetlights click here.)
San Diego police was sharing license plate data with 600 federal agencies

According to an article in the Voice of San Diego, the San Diego Police Department was sharing everyone's license plate data with 600 federal agencies.

"The department had allowed the San Diego sector of Border Patrol and 600 other agencies across the country, including other agencies within the Department of Homeland Security, to access the database where the information was stored."

"Initially, SDPD told VOSD that it had no control over the information, that only Vigilant Solutions could determine who sees or doesn’t see the data, but later conceded that the department could elect to limit which agencies can access that data."

An email from BriefCam's Western Region sales director, Erik Wade, sheds some light on who is really behind San Diego's public surveillance network.

"I am currently working with SDPD to deploy Briefcam at their new Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) for the entire city, which would greatly help you as some of the camera coverage would benefit each other," Wade said.

Just how close is BriefCam and DHS?

Last year Briefcam announced that they won the 2018 Gold ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award, calling it a "prestigious program that is designed to honor distinguished government and vendor solutions"

I wish I could say that I am surprised to learn that private companies are working with Homeland Security, but this has been happening since 9/11.

San Diego has created a public watchlisting network

What I was surprised to learn about is how San Diego law enforcement has secretly created a public watchlisting network.

Buried in Briefcam's "breakthrough" announcement is an admission that boggles the mind.

San Diego's law enforcement is using Briefcam to create "precise face recognition [that] rapidly pinpoints people of interest in real-time using digital images extracted from video, external image sources and pre-defined watchlists."

Watchlisting people is a major selling point for BriefCam, "our scalable watchlist management enables rapid and powerful rule configuration." 

When I called 2018: The Year Public Watchlists Became Commonplace I was not joking and here is another smoking gun to prove it.

Watchlisting hundreds of thousands of children and their families is big business.

Last year BriefCam announced that they used their surveillance cameras to identify children and their families during the 2018 Little League World Series in South WilliamsPort, PA.

“Each year, hundreds of thousands of people come out to Williamsport to enjoy their time at the Little League Baseball World Series,” said Jim Ferguson, Little League Assistant Director of Risk Management and Safety.

Because who doesn't want their children to be watchlisted?

As Vanity Fair warned: the real purpose behind turning our cities into a mirror image of China is to "make people more obedient" and that is surveillance politics in a nutshell.
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  1. Sounds like a lot of money would've been involved. Wonder where that could've come from since apparently none of this is in the public record.

    1. Thousands of San Diego streetlights are equipped with facial recognition cameras:

      "Cody Hooven, the City of San Diego's Chief Sustainability Officersaid the video footage is meant to assist police in solving crimes, and that police will only be able to request footage or images after a crime has been committed. It’s not clear whether minor offenses will also be monitored by police."

      "Facial recognition cameras that can capture, store and recognize human faces — have become a common tool in places like ports of entry and airports. But in the last 10 years, San Diego-area law enforcement agencies have adopted the technology using an iPad or mobile device to take a photo of a person in handcuffs and upload it to a database. The San Diego Police Department uses it."

      READ MORE:

    2. San Diego's Streetlights Will Spy on Cars in real-time:

      Following a short presentation by Faulconer’s environmental services department, the city council gave its approval on December 13, 2016, to a $30.3 million agreement with General Electric to finance the system. There was no discussion of the project’s far-reaching privacy implications, although an itemized list attached to the document spelled out its surveillance-related purposes in the fine print.

      “Car Image on Demand (123K events),” “Public Safety(14K events),” “Gun Shot Detection,” and unspecified “Surveillance” services to be furnished by remote video security vendor Genetech were included in the fine print of a project proforma. Among Genetec’s array of intelligence-gathering technologies, the Montreal-based firm makes license plate reader devices for use by the D.E.A.

    3. San Diego Intelligent Street Light Report 3/12/19):

    4. Drone Company Worked Closely with Chula Vista PD and the City of San Diego to Create BVLOS Drones:
      "Cape, a cloud platform for drone telepresence and data management, has announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted the first-ever Certificate of Authorization (COA) with a provision for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) for a public safety organization."
      "Since October 2018, Cape has powered the nation’s first Drone as a First Responder program in partnership with the Chula Vista Police Department, where drones are integrated into daily emergency response operations as part of the San Diego Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program."

    5. As crime falls to record lows in San Diego, some neighborhoods are left behind:

      The city consistently logs the lowest murder and crime numbers among all large cities in the country. And in 2017, San Diego reached another milestone: It had the lowest violent crime rate among the country’s 10 largest cities, making it by one measure the safest big city in the country.

  2. Edward Hasbrouck of the Identity Project discussing facial recognition:

    The big takeaway is that the broad surveillance of people in airports amounts to a kind of “individualized control of citizenry” — not unlike what’s already happening with the social credit scoring system in China. “There are already people who aren’t allowed on, say, a high-speed train because their social credit scores are too low,” he said, pointing out that China’s program is significantly based in “identifying individual people and tracking their movements in public spaces though automated facial recognition.”

    “This is opening the door to an extraordinarily more intrusive and granular level of government control, starting with where we can go and our ability to move freely about the country,” Hasbrouck said. “And then potentially, once the system is proved out in that way, it can extend to a vast number of controls in other parts of our lives.”

  3. Social Media, Universal Basic Income, and Cashless Society: How China’s Social Credit System Is Coming To America

    Unbeknownst to most people, there appears to be a real attempt to create a system in which all citizens are rationed their “wages” digitally each month in place of a paycheck, including the ability to gain or lose money. This system would see any form of dissent resulting in the cut off of those credits and the ability to work, eat, or even exist in society. It would not only be the end of dissent but of any semblance of real individuality.

    In some cases, the move to become cashless is made by social engineering and predatory marketing to convenience. In others, such as India, the cashless society has been brought forward by law.

    As I have written in many articles in the past, cashless programs are almost always first introduced under the guise of convenience. Then, as more and more people take the bait, the older methods of payment are seen as cumbersome and, eventually, are phased out completely. Mandates then replace what was once a personal choice.

    Yet, what is so ironic about these programs is that, while the program is touted as providing so much more convenience, even when putting privacy and Cashless Society issues aside and, with the program running at its optimum, they aren’t often really much more convenient.

    But that doesn’t stop the rollouts and it certainly doesn’t stop the mandates. It’s as if people believe that masses of scientists, corporations, and DARPA are putting their noses to the grindstone for their convenience and not some other purpose. Do we really believe that those organizations have, as their top priority, our health, freedom, convenience, or happiness? Do we really believe this or do we just not think about it at all?

    Regardless, with the disappearance of cash also goes the ability to live outside the mandates of the State which has always been the goal of moving toward a cashless system. The United States is rapidly approaching the phase out of cash as a means of exchange. Don’t believe it? Just go to your local convenience store with a $100 dollar bill.