November 2, 2011
By Paul Joseph Watson
Federally-funded high-tech street lights now being installed in American cities are not only set to aid the DHS in making “security announcements” and acting as talking surveillance cameras, they are also capable of “recording conversations,” bringing the potential privacy threat posed by ‘Intellistreets’ to a whole new level.
In the days after we first brought attention to the privacy concerns surrounding the new street lights, with our story featuring prominently on the Drudge Report website, the company behind them, Illuminating Concepts, went on the defensive, issuing a press release claiming the devices didn’t represent a “big brother” intrusion.
However, as you can see from the video above, ‘Intellistreets’ is big brother on steroids. George Orwell himself would probably have considered the concept too far-fetched to appear in the dystopian classic 1984.
Not only can the street lights, now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh with Department of Energy backing, act as surveillance cameras, Minority Report-style advertising hubs, and Homeland Security alert systems, they are “also capable of recording conversations,” reports ABC 7.
In their press release, the company behind the street lights also denied that they had received DHS funding for the system. In the aftermath of the controversy generated last week, ABC 7 reports that owner Ron Harwood is now “working with Homeland Security” to implement the high tech network, which is connected via a ubiquitous wi-fi system.
Harwood told the Detroit Free Press that the street lights will “make us feel not only safer, but happier,” representing how “business and government can work together for economic, environmental and social benefits.”
Harwood’s claim that the technology doesn’t represent a privacy threat simply because its rollout it “transparent” carries no weight whatsoever. Just because the installation of these street lights is being done publicly and not in secret has no bearing whatsoever on the frightening implications for privacy this development poses.