Friday, May 13, 2022

The NYPD is Spying on You

There are thousands of surveillance cameras in New York which can track your movements around the city. The New York Police Department's facial recognition software can identify individuals as they move around New York and pass in front of any of the city's pervasive surveillance cameras. The system works using millions of profile pictures scraped from social media accounts without users' permissions. Black and minority communities are most at risk of being misidentified by facial recognition software and therefore most at risk of being wrongfully arrested.

Amnesty International, with the help of 7,000 volunteers, has analyzed Google Maps Street View imagery in New York to identify the locations of the city's security camera locations. Amnesty found and located over 15,000 surveillance cameras across the city.

In Inside the NYPD's Surveillance Machine Amnesty International has created a route finder which allows you to discover how many surveillance cameras you will pass on any journey in New York City. For example if you walk from the Empire State Building to the Museum of Modern Art you will be filmed by surveillance cameras on 80% of the journey. 

Amnesty claims that the pervasive level of surveillance in NYC coupled with facial recognition software means that you are 'never anonymous' in the city and that your movements can be tracked at any time. You can explore the density of the city's surveillance cameras on Amnesty's Decode Surveillance NYC interactive map. The Decode Surveillance heat-map shows the density of surveillance cameras across the city. You can view the locations of individual cameras by exploring the Inside the NYPD's Surveillance Machine interactive map.

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