Friday Tech Links: Big Brother in Lancaster, girls still hate tech and More - Technical.ly Philly

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Jun. 26, 2009 8:30 am

Friday Tech Links: Big Brother in Lancaster, girls still hate tech and More

In which we link out to the tech news from Philly and elsewhere (when it matters) that slips through the cracks and make it way fun. See others here. You’re probably being watched in Lancaster. This city of 54,000 in the middle of a rural county of the same name just may be the most […]
Lancaster security cameras on the streets are monitored by civilians working for a nonprofit group. They pan, zoom and call police if they see a crime. Linda Johnson / For The L.A. Times

Lancaster security cameras on the streets are monitored by civilians working for a nonprofit group. They pan, zoom and call police if they see a crime. Linda Johnson / For The L.A. Times

In which we link out to the tech news from Philly and elsewhere (when it matters) that slips through the cracks and make it way fun. See others here.

You’re probably being watched in Lancaster.

This city of 54,000 in the middle of a rural county of the same name just may be the most closely scrutinized place in the country, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

As many as 165 closed-circuit TV cameras that will soon bring constant live surveillance of very nearly every street, park and other public space. That would be more outdoor cameras than cities as large as Boston and San Francisco.

Two more things are unique about the camera network, as the L.A. Times story suggests: it was built and maintained by a private nonprofit group and few seem concerned about the privacy implications.

The group, which hires civilians to move and follow the cameras and dispatch police to suspiscious activity, hasn’t found much public outcry.

“Years ago, there’s no way we could do this,” said Lancaster’s police chief Keith Sadler told the Times. “It brings to mind Big Brother, George Orwell and ‘1984.’ It’s just funny how Americans have softened on these issues.”

There is some question as to the effectiveness of cameras, though. In what the Times report calls the largest U.S. study, US Berkeley researchers evaluated 71 cameras that San Francisco put in high-crime areas beginning in 2005. In December, they released a report that found “no evidence” of a reduction in violent crime, though it did note “substantial declines” in property crime near the cameras.

Hat Tip Philly Tech News.

After the jump, the continued spat over a state film tax credit, robot-loving high schoolers and eight more of the week’s tech stories you shouldn’t miss, including our best read story of the last seven days.

In order of importance for your ease.

Every Friday morning we make sure you didn’t miss anything with Friday Tech Links.

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