Florida Wants to Have Cameras Watching You Everywhere, No Matter the Cost

Posted on January 20, 2012

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In Tequesta, Fl., local police are playing around with $34,200 cameras that have the ability to scan license plates. Although the stated purpose is to catch stolen vehicles, the police freely explain that constant surveillance is their goal.

“If you come in or leave our city, we’re going to know about it,” said Tequesta Police Lt. Jason Turner, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Turner added: “Our goal is to have a camera at every exit and entry point in the village.”

The cameras are made by NDI Technologies, Inc., which also provides camera surveillance technology for several police departments around Florida, as well as a few in South Carolina, Canada, and the U.K. However, most of their cameras are serving Florida – about 50 departments in total –  suggesting a really big contract with authorities in the Sunshine state at taxpayers’ expense.

Besides catching license plates of stolen vehicles, the NDI cameras are also advertised on its website as a way to increase police surveillance ability, such as being able to determine, via scanning license plates, if the driver of the vehicle has a restraining order, is a “sexual predator,” or is a gang member.Whether or not these people have committed a crime is irrelevant – but the camera will alert the police officer if a registered sex offender or gang member is driving down the street so police can stop them for no reason at all.

The cameras also, of course, checks for warrants. So, if you have an outstanding speeding ticket, driving slow and straight will no longer matter – your license plate is getting scanned regardless because NDI’s cameras are able to check “thousands” of license plates in the time it takes a cop to manually process 100 numbers into their computer, meaning as cops sit on the side of the road to check your speed, they’re also able to check your history.

All this extra surveillance is expensive. The Lighthouse Police Department allegedly spent $256,000 on its 26-camera system, according to the Sun-Sentinel, which was reportedly paid for with DEA funds. However, Tequesta is paying $36,200 for just two cameras, and another local news segment on the cameras say one camera costs $24,000 each.

Whatever the costs are, NDI Technologies, Inc. is making lots of money off of taxpayers. And as for a senior citizen South Florida resident interviewed by CBS News 4, he thinks it’s “sneaky.”

“That’s what I think,” he said. “It’s just sneaky”

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