Intelligence: The All Seeing Eyes


October 20,2008:  In Britain, the police are rapidly increasing the use of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition). This system takes advantage of cheaper, more reliable high resolution digital cameras that can read vehicle license plates. This started as a system to catch and fine people who ran red lights. But the British police have found that they could record the plate information for everyone who went through each camera location, and store the plate ID and time in a database. This is now being used as a crime fighting resource, along with other traffic monitoring systems (like electronic toll collection).

In the United States, police have been using traffic monitoring video cameras to track fleeing criminals, or assist in the surveillance of suspects. Prosecutors have already been using these videos, and electronic toll collection system data to convict, or exonerate, those accused of crimes.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, similar systems, used as part of base defenses, to track suspicious activities, or assist in the pursuit of enemy forces. The U.S. Army is developing a new generation of remote sensors that uses similar technology. These can be air dropped, or placed by troops on the ground, to provide more monitoring capability in remote areas.

The ability of the police or military to store vast quantities of this data also allows for suspicious activity to be sought out after a crime has occurred. Criminals, and terrorists, usually scout out a location before carrying out a crime. Advances in pattern recognition and statistical analysis software helps investigators find things that are not easily noticed at a glance.


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