updated 06:51 pm EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
NYC to earn share of crime system profits
The New York Police Department and Microsoft have constructed a supercomputer to help fight crime. Costing between $30 and $40 million to create, the Domain Awareness System (DAS) uses a combination of CCTV, license plate readers, police reports, and live incident reports to track criminals and help protect the city from potential threats such as terrorist attacks.
The upgraded system was revealed by Mayor Bloomberg, who claimed the NYPD is "not your mom and pop police department anymore." The system can track individual vehicles throughout the city, show who was in attendance at a location prior to a crime, and using various sensors, can also measure radioactive substances. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly claimed the entire system to be an improvement from the department databases used previously, calling the use of DAS "one-stop shopping for investigators."
The system was created by Microsoft's programming teams working with NYPD cops, allowing the city to earn 30 percent of the profits on sales of DAS to other cities and countries, and therefore potentially pay for itself over time.
Civil liberties advocates have voiced concerns over the system, citing the constant "Big Brother" surveillance style as a primary issue. Associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Chris Dunn, although supporting the use of technology by police for fighting crime, said "law abiding New Yorkers should not end up in a police database every time they walk their dog." [via NY Daily News]