Total Surveillance? NYPD to Launch an All-Seeing ‘Domain Awareness System’ to Track ‘Potential Terrorists’ and Criminals

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The New York Police Department will soon launch an all-seeing “Domain Awareness System” that combines several streams of information to track both criminals and “potential” terrorists.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the city developed the software with Microsoft.

Kelly says the program combines city-wide video surveillance with law enforcement databases. He added the program will be officially unveiled by New York’s mayor as soon as next week.

Conservative author Brad Thor has coined the term “Total Surveillance,” referring to the federal government’s ability to monitor nearly every aspect of our lives through an array of surveillance technology. The term certainly seems fitting here.

(Author Brad Thor Dishes on His New Thriller: ’24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week, Our Digital Exhaust Is Being Sucked Up by the Government)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

But WNYW reports that there are actually some who are concerned that the program doesn’t go far enough.

Kelly spoke Saturday before an audience at the Aspen Security Forum.

The NYPD has been under fire for surveillance of Muslim communities and partnering with the CIA to track potential terror suspects. Muslim groups have sued to shut down the NYPD programs.

Kelly defended the policies as key to thwarting 14 terror plots against the city since the attacks of Sept. 11th.

According to WNYW, the Domain Awareness System is a counterterrorism tool designed to:

  • Facilitate the observation of pre-operational activity by terrorist organizations or their agents
  • Aid in the detection of preparations to conduct terrorist attacks
  • Deter terrorist attacks
  • Provide a degree of common domain awareness for all Stakeholders
  • Reduce incident response times
  • Create a common technological infrastructure to support the integration of new security technology

Predictably, the citizens of New York fall on both sides of the issue.

“It would make me feel safer to know the public being protected that way,” one resident said. “If you have nothing to hide, why would you worry about surveillance?”

Others are more concerned with their right to privacy and remain unconvinced that more surveillance will actually make the city a safer place.

“Yeah, I don’t there should be so many cameras and so much invasion of privacy going on,” another New Yorker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.