The public trust has been betrayed. District Attorney’s (DA) are using CCTV cameras and license plate readers to create public surveillance networks.
According to U.S. Legal, the definition of a DA is “to investigate alleged crimes in cooperation with law enforcement.” Not a single one of the 22 definitions includes running a public surveillance network.
What is happening in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County is not an aberration, it is fast becoming commonplace.
Last month, Lancaster Online revealed that the DA’s office has created an “advanced public surveillance network.”
“The district attorney for Pennsylvania’s second-most-populous county, Stephen Zappala Jr. has assembled a network of advanced surveillance cameras in and around Pittsburgh and has enlisted colleagues in four surrounding counties to extend its reach into their jurisdictions.”
This video revealed that the DA’s office has real-time access to CCTV cameras, effectively allowing government officials to track anyone without a warrant.
The Appeal, calls it a “Dystopian Reality.”
“He’s created a dystopian reality in the county,” said Andy Hoover, a spokesperson for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The residents are being watched at all times and it’s by some anonymous company that he won’t even name.”
Zappala’s office has spent $1.5 million over the past five years, much of it drug forfeiture money, on a network that includes more than 1,000 cameras and 350 license plate readers that capture and store millions of license plates a week.
Turning a DA’s office into a public surveillance center is appalling.
Andrew Ferguson, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia warns that DA’s in California, Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, and potentially more jurisdictions have created public surveillance networks.
Feds and judges help to expand DA’s surveillance network
The South Pittsburgh Reporter reveals that the Feds and judges are helping expand the DA’s public surveillance network.
“Councilman Anthony Coghill, District Magistrate Richard King, and state Rep. Harry Readshaw worked directly with the DA’s office over several months to expand the cameras to Carrick.”
With their help, they have expanded the DA’s surveillance network.
“The cameras, which were installed at the intersections of Brownsville Road and Maytide Street and Brownsville Road and Nobles Lane, are part of a growing security network consisting of 1,400 cameras county-wide.”
The article also revealed that the DA’s office and law enforcement can use license plate readers to create a bread crumb trail of anyone.
“The license plate cameras have the ability to capture the make, model, color, and plate number of every vehicle that passes through a checkpoint. The data captured by each camera is stored in a centralized database that can be used by law enforcement to create a breadcrumb trail for investigating criminal activity.”
Using license plate readers to “grid entire neighborhoods” or creating a “breadcrumb trail” of anyone, goes against everything this country once stood for.
“Since January 2016, about 230 businesses in Detroit have voluntarily signed up with the city to have Comcast Business install video surveillance systems inside and outside of their businesses that are marked with an exterior green light that’s meant to let would-be criminals know they’re being recorded.”
Mayor Mike Duggan said the city will start with requiring the camera systems for bars, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses open between midnight and 4 a.m. during the highest risk time for crimes to occur. Then the city will move to businesses open after 10 p.m.”
Their efforts to create a public surveillance network has been so successful that I dubbed Detroit, America’s second Chinese-Style surveillance city.
A recent report by Comparitech revealed that DA’s and law enforcement have been so successful at turning cities into public surveillance networks that America is now tied with China for the world lead.
DA’s creating public surveillance networks is utter madness, so what has happened to our justice system?
The War On Terror has corrupted every aspect of our government and threatens everyone’s privacy.
Editors Note: Some of the information collected through these local surveillance programs almost certainly ends up in federal databases. The feds can share and tap into vast amounts of information gathered at the state and local level through fusion centers and a system known as the “information sharing environment” or ISE.
Fusion centers were sold as a tool to combat terrorism, but that is not how they are being used. The ACLU pointed to a bipartisan congressional report to demonstrate the true nature of government fusion centers: “They haven’t contributed anything meaningful to counterterrorism efforts. Instead, they have largely served as police surveillance and information sharing nodes for law enforcement efforts targeting the frequent subjects of police attention: Black and brown people, immigrants, dissidents, and the poor.”
Fusion centers operate within the broader ISE. According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators…have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant. Known ISE partners include the Office of Director of National Intelligence which oversees 17 federal agencies and organizations, including the NSA. ISE utilizes these partnerships to collect and share data on the millions of unwitting people they track.
This article was originally published at MassPrivatel