Housing Authority Installs “Eye of Sauron” Surveillance Cameras In Low-Income Housing

by mapi

It is hard to get past the grade-school mentality of this video title which attempts to justify installing surveillance cameras everywhere.

Pro-Vigil’s “Crime is Bad. We Stop Crime. Pro-Vigil Is Good” video is probably one of the most ironic videos I have ever seen about mass surveillance. Five seconds into the video they boast that “they are watching, always watching,” everyone.

The Tampa Bay Times report on how the Tampa Bay Housing Authority justified installing six solar-powered surveillance cameras in the Robles Park housing complex is disturbing.

“Last week, the Housing Authority rolled out is latest security effort — six solar-powered surveillance cameras installed in and around the 35-acre housing complex.”  

“The cameras will be controlled and monitored by Pro-Vigil, a live video surveillance company, which will call Tampa police to respond quickly to any crimes they spot.”

These cameras surveil everyone coming and going into the housing complex including recording their license plates.

“The cameras can provide high-resolution images, including car license plates, said Lorenzo Bryant, Housing Authority director of asset management.”

“We’ve put them in what we call high-traffic areas where we have the most potential for catching people coming in and leaving and certain high-traffic areas where people do more hanging out,” he said.

According to Pro-Vigil, their cameras can ID a person by the type of clothing they are wearing, the object[s] they are carrying and can even tell if a person is wearing a mask.

Why would one of “Tampa’s oldest, poorest and most rundown public housing complexes” need so much so much public surveillance? What makes this story even more disturbing is how many additional people could be surveilled in the future.

According to the Tampa Bay Housing Authority’s “Asset Management Department” Mr. Bryant is responsible for managing 13 apartment communities and 2,553 units throughout Hillsborough County.

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How have residents reacted to mass surveillance?

The Tampa Bay Times went out of its way, to find someone to repeat a common response that has been used to justify mass surveillance for 19 years.

After 30 years of living at Robles, Rachel Reeves, 47, is skeptical that cameras will stop the crime she often sees from her stoop. But she doesn’t understand why people are concerned that their right to privacy is being violated.

“It ain’t a violation because I ain’t doing nothing,” she said. “My privacy is in my house.”

As Amnesty International explains the “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear” answer is the wrong response to mass surveillance.

“Imagine if we were told they wanted to install cameras in our bathrooms, living rooms, or microphones under tables in coffee shops, to ensure they could catch criminals. This is the physical-world equivalent of online mass surveillance.”

It seems that the Tampa Housing Authority has purposely chosen to ignore Pro-Vigil’s comments about always watching everyone.

Public surveillance cameras are like the Eye of Sauron

Is the above video irony or a blatant reveal about mass surveillance?

The video titled “Criminals Are Bad. Pro-Vigil Stops Criminals” says their surveillance cameras are like the “Eye of Sauron” from the Lord of the Rings movies.
Pardon me, while I stop myself from laughing in order to finish writing this story.
I’m not sure if Pro-Vigil’s videos are meant to show how invasive mass surveillance really is or if they were just taking a light-hearted marketing approach. One thing is certain: mass surveillance is incredibly invasive, and it is only getting worse.
Calling public surveillance cameras the ‘Eye of Sauron’ is as much an admission of their invasive capabilities and a condemnation of the technology.