Devices designed to detect questionable activity are proliferating. Several cities have recently put in place networks of microphone-based gunshot sensors, and others are likely to adopt similar systems. When a sensor picks up a suspicious noise, a computer program analyzes the sound and, if it resembles gunfire, determines its point of origin to within a few yards. A human reviews the report and, if warranted, dispatches officers to the scene—all within about 40 seconds of the gunshot. Meanwhile, a Vancouver company is testing marijuana breathalyzers that can approximate the amount of THC in a person’s system; Guohua Li, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, thinks they will probably be in routine use within five years. Police may also start making use of intelligent surveillance cameras equipped with sensors that can identify abnormal or suspicious behavior. According to Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, such technology is being tested in several American cities and is already sophisticated enough to “notice” when someone leaves a bag unattended, or when a car repeatedly circles the same block.

posted by thenewgreen: 1434 days ago