Minneapolis Wireless: Video Cameras in Police Cars

The Star Tribune writes about Monday’s wireless demonstration by US Internet, one of two vendors competing for the Minneapolis contract. Earthlink is the other vendor.

As police rush to the scene of the crime, a laptop video screen in their squad car shows the robbery still in progress, as viewed from a gas station video camera.

Besides tapping into existing security cameras at businesses, squad cars could also have cameras and relay images to other squad cars on the way to help and back to precinct headquarters.

To date, the city has touted the low-cost Internet access the network would offer — about $20 a month for consumers — but this was the first display of the network’s potential public safety benefits.

Well, I’m not sure if this was the first display but if you went to any of the community meetings on wireless, City reps always discussed public service uses as the main reason for the Wi-Fi network.

The article does raise the question as to whether we really want to increase video surveillance of City residents and how this affects privacy rights.

Equipping the cars would cost $6,000 each and cameras are $1,000. Whether the City’s budget can handle the costs is under debate.

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