By Tina Moore
Big Brother is watching. Now get used to it! Envisioning a future where privacy is a thing of the past, Mayor Bloomberg said Friday it will soon be impossible to escape the watchful eyes of surveillance cameras and even drones in the city.
He acknowledged privacy concerns, but said “you can’t keep the tides from coming in.” “You wait, in five years, the technology is getting better, they’ll be cameras everyplace . . . whether you like it or not,” Bloomberg said.
The security measures have drawn scorn from some civil libertarians — but Bloomberg scoffed at privacy concerns on his Friday morning program on WOR-AM.
“The argument against using automation is just this craziness that ‘Oh, it’s Big Brother,’” Bloomberg said. “Get used to it!”
The New York Civil Liberties Union has documented nearly 2,400 surveillance cameras fixed on public spaces in Manhattan alone. Many are operated by the police, others by poroperty owners.
In Lower Manhattan, an initiative developed after 9/11 known as the “Ring of Steel” integrates the NYPD’s cameras with those of banks and other institutions.
But in the future, the cameras won’t just be planted on buildings and utility poles. Some of them will be able to fly, the mayor pointed out.
“It’s scary,” Bloomberg said. “But what’s the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building? I mean intellectually I have trouble making a distinction. And you know you’re gonna have face recognition software. People are working on that.”