Some San Diego Streetlights Have Video Cameras Using Facial Recognition

Have you noticed the many San Diego street lights that are now equipped with video cameras using facial recognition technology?

These 4000+ San Diego street light cameras were installed around the same time the city went to update the street lights with cost-saving lower wattage LED bulbs to help increase public safety and can also track things like weather and pedestrian counts. Now many San Diegans are concerned that their privacy is being invaded.

Several things to point out: the raw video and image data captured by these smart cameras are accessible to the San Diego Police Department and not available to the public or general city employees. The footage is only kept in the system for about 5 days before it is deleted. However, the metadata, on things like parking, pedestrian counts, temperature, humidity, pressure, and vehicle counts are available publicly using an API.

I'm not sure if the audio recorded on these street light cameras are detailed enough to capture conversations on the ground, but it may capture environmental audio like cars and what's happening on our streets.

On the flip side, if a car was stolen or a person was kidnapped, the cameras would capture the event and give authorities clues to solve crimes.

It's definitely a double-edged sword.

This reminds me of the time when I was in grade school - an officer came in and confirmed that whatever is front-facing, even if your front yard is your property, is technically public since everyone can see it. So cameras on traffic lights would definitely be considered 'public grounds'.

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