NYPD develops new surveillance system

NYPD surveillance system
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3,000 surveillance cameras in New York

from R. Olschewski

Microsoft and NYPD have jointly developed and launched a new electronic crime-fighting system.

This system links 3,000 surveillance cameras in Lower Manhattan with police databases, street maps, crime registers and the 911 emergency call, among other things, and is intended to create the conditions for tracking crimes in real time and deterring offenders preventively.

For example, suspicious license plates are identified and tracked. According to press releases, the routes of vehicles are to be tracked over a period of weeks and months. Sensors for radioactive substances can trigger alarms and are intended to combat terrorism. Microsoft contributed its electronic expertise to the project and the NYPD its experience in fighting crime.

The system, called the Domain Awareness System, which is likely to raise some data protection issues in Europe, was developed as part of a public-private partnership and is also to be sold to other cities. 30 % of future revenues will then flow back to the city of New York.

The system was partly financed with counter-terrorism funds and is intended to help the city of New York to further reduce the low crime rate as part of its zero tolerance strategy. After all, the New York region has a population of almost 19 million and New York City is one of the largest cities in the world with 8.2 million inhabitants.

Even if surveillance cameras are now part of the German cityscape, networking with official criminal and investigation files will probably not take place in Germany in the foreseeable future. When using surveillance technology, German companies should therefore check to what extent a prior check in accordance with Section 6b BDSG is necessary. Qualified advice is generally required for the necessary documentation of the review procedures, the provisions on access control and the transfer authorizations to the police and law enforcement authorities.

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