Public and San Diego City Council Were in the Dark on Police Access to ‘Smart’ Streetlights

by on April 24, 2019 · 4 comments

in San Diego

Two City Council members say they had no idea police had been accessing footage from streetlight cameras, which were sold to the public as a tool to mitigate traffic. Now, two years after the program was implemented, police — not city officials — are writing up a policy guiding how they’re allowed to access footage and data from the cameras.

By Jesse Marx / Voice of San Diego

Last month, top San Diego officials met with residents at the Malcolm X library to direct their gaze to the thousands of new cameras that were watching them back.

It was precisely the type of community education and outreach work you might expect to take place before a big project — in this case the city’s “smart” streetlight program — is rolled out to the public. But it was happening more than two years after the City Council approved the devices, as fear began building that the footage they collect can — and is — accessed by police.

City officials billed the streetlight sensors and cameras as a means of gathering atmospheric data and analyzing traffic and pedestrian flow to better understand the city’s infrastructure needs. The devices’ use as a crime-fighting tool never came up. But that’s what the approximately 3,000 cameras raised high above San Diego street corners have become.

Since August, the San Diego Police Department has been accessing the raw video footage with permission from City Hall and using its contents in dozens of criminal investigations, as the U-T reported. Some of that footage could appear at a trial scheduled to begin later this month, according to police.

For the balance of this article, please go to Voice of San Diego.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mjt April 24, 2019 at 10:27 am

Time to ride off into the sun, America what have you become.
Land of the brave, home of the free, ha!

Qualcomm and G.E. charge San Diego taxpayers 30 million for spy cameras, now poised to sell them to the rest of the free.

Dad was a welder in a Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, and the destroyer he sailed on for 18 months in the Pacific during WW 2 was built while he was there.
He used to say, i built the ship and sailed on it.

My the world has changed, we had 120 million citizens then, now 325 million.
Almost three times the population and what did we get, plenty of fools paying taxes, corporations and government on our backs, and a police state.

Too old now to start anew, thankful for memories of what could have been.


sealintheSelkirks April 28, 2019 at 8:47 am

Pretty much ain’t the land of the free and never has been for any that aren’t part of the ruling elite, but the USA is certainly the home of the brave…corporations that control us and their shaved-head armed enforcers of the status quo.

We seem to have fallen into a version of the Soviet Union’s idea of control of the masses, but under Capitalist Oligarchs instead of commissars. As British neoliberal Thatcher said: their isn’t any other history left but neoliberalism and the ‘free’ (read corporate) market. The net effect is quite similar, isn’t it? has a PROFIT of $11 billion last year and paid ZERO in income taxes.

Most people don’t want to notice, don’t read or understand US history much less world history, and are so fractured as a class that they never realize that what they are living in is a Class War.

There are two kinds of people, those of the Leisure Class who own everything and those of the Working Class who don’t. There never was a ‘middle class,’ that was a chimera invented to divide up the working class because those that get a few more perks are easily convinced they are ‘better’ than the rest of their class and that someday they, too, might become Leisure Class.

Not likely of course. There’s only so much wealth to divide up and the wealthy really don’t like sharing.

The enforcers of the status quo don’t even realize how manipulated they are possibly because of their personality traits. Expect nothing less but continued class warfare and the shrinking of the upper working class. That’s history for ya!

I’ve been reading a book titled ‘War, What For?’ written by George R. Kirkpatrick that was published in 1911 during the Gilded Age that explicitly lays all of this out quite nicely. And now we are in another Gilded Age and it’s like reading current history.

My copy is a 7th edition from 1912.

The end of this country (and Empire) I doubt will end well at all. None of the others in our human history did…



retired botanist April 28, 2019 at 4:13 pm

Seal- have to say, this perspective is borne out by others. I am reading James Speth’s (2008, so > 10 yrs old) book, The Bridge at the Edge of the World, which is about capitalism, the environment, economics, and the crisis of sustainability. While it sounds like heavy reading, it isn’t. It’s just plain speaking. The underlying premise is that the three issues are inexticably linked; that is, we can’t change one w/out changing the other two. Adding armament and more over-reach that supports the capitalist status quo is just not going to solve the problems. Many will view this as extreme left-wing, socialist thinking, but this guy is a BIG BRAIN thinker and his views are not based in what conservatists might call “socialist conjecture”, they are based on historical fact, science, and a deep undertanding of global economy. Check him out!


sealintheSelkirks April 29, 2019 at 9:01 pm

retired botanist:

I don’t know if you’ll read this as I never get notified by email that somebody replied to a post of mine on the Rag (I do on other websites I comment at), but plain talk isn’t what people want. They want to be soothed and told everything is all right, keep paying your bills, go shopping. That’s what W said on 9/11!

I put the author on my list of ‘books to read.’ I actually have a library card and keep my eye out on independent bookseller Powell’s Books in Portland for their web sales of 20-30% off used books with no shipping if over $50… I like that store.

This ‘War What For’ book has absolutely amazing illustrated cartoons of the era in it by the way. Far more detailed, the artists weren’t minimalist like current cartoonists seem to be. Unfortunately what they drew are completely relevant to current events. I would love to see them re-published. I wonder if I’ve got the only copy of this book left in the world?

It is a scary realization to compare you world politically & socially with one where most people got around on horses and buggies and long before penicillin and radios. The year it was printed steamships like the Titanic were the epitome of technological progress… And look how that turned out the same year.

The Democrats are the Republican Party of 1980, Reagan’s boys like Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld, who engineered the election by secret deals with Iran who was holding the Embassy hostages until his inauguration (remember the release date?),

There has been nothing but Neoliberal Reaganomics presidents running this country since in fact if not in the very gullible minds of the so-called voters who didn’t notice.

What are called ‘Centrists’ now are actually moderate Reagan Democrats. And they are being called ‘Leftist’ or ‘Progressive.’ That is how far the politics in this country has been shoved to the right in the last (almost) 40 years.

But all those votes don’t really count. If you haven’t read the Princeton study:

Bernie Sanders, who is NOT a Socialist but a FDR Democrat, is already being attacked by just about all the wealthy Red Democrats like Pelosi & Shumer and the rest of the corporate millionaires. And the supposedly ‘progressive’ news sites that are MSM-lite, and they are also jumping onto the pile-on. Sites like The Nation, NYTimes, Wash Post (owned by the richest man in the world?), Think Progress. and others are calling him a millionaire (he sold enough of his books) who isn’t in touch with the electorate. Which is absolutely hilarious if you look at their own lifestyles.

But at the same time they’re also labeling him as a scruffy old dude socialist who lived poor and demonstrated in the 60s… Covering both bases of infamy I guess.

The banality of evil. People go to work, kids are at school, they watch tv, maybe ride waves on the weekend, drink beer and smoke pot watching sports on tv or going to their kids soccer games. And they don’t want to really know what the wealthy who run the government for profit are actually doing. Confrontation with those in power usually don’t turn out well, either, and subconsciously they have learned this lesson well from all the lessons they’ve been given since birth.

It’s really hard to step out of that box. First you have to realize you are in one…

An Aldo Leopold quote:

“one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.”

That goes for stepping out of the socially acceptable box of the society we live in.

People that do not know any history truly do repeat the mistakes of the past. Those of us that do have to live with what the owners decide. There’s a term for that…

Sorry about the length. I’m a touch typist but even so my brain goes faster and replies tend to get long.




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