Most of you have probably seen the Bourne movies starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. In the Bourne Identity, America’s black op spies use closed circuit cameras all over the city and the world to track Jason Bourne and others. You may have also seen similar scenarios used on popular TV programs like NCIS where they hack into the camera systems used by the city and private companies.
Movies and television regularly exaggerate actual technology to intensify their scenes, but according to emails released by Wikileaks, video spying on the American people is alive and well. It reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984 where Big Brother watched and monitored everything the people did.
Documents released by Wikileaks point to a company in the U.S. known as Abraxas which is owned by the Cubic Corporation. Abraxas uses a system known as TrapWire that is linked into civilian CCTV systems all over the country and is “’a unique, predictive software system designed to detect patterns of per-attack surveillance.’ This includes ‘photographing, measuring and signaling’”.
To add to the spy mystery, Wikileaks claims that many of the company’s employees use to work for the CIA.
In high profile or high risk areas like New York City, they use very sophisticated software to look for anyone actually aiming a camera or behaving in any way that could be interpreted as surveillance. Seems to me this would include virtually every tourist visiting the area. The system also uses face recognition software to help them identify suspected terrorists, you and me.
The company uses 500 surveillance cameras in the New York City subway system to watch everyone using the city’s underground. They also operate in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Canada and London. So if you ever plan on visiting Washington DC to see the historic sites and you raise your camera to aim and focus, you will be caught on camera by the TrapWire system and your face will be logged in as a possible terrorist.
There is no doubt that as the governments become more paranoid, that the TrapWire system will be expanded to cover more cities and historic places around the world. It may not be long until Big Brother (TrapWire) begins to tap into private home security cameras and even internet video communications such as Skype without our knowledge. The government has already proven that they no longer care about individual privacy rights by the use of TSA full body scanners and full body pat downs at airports, so you may want to think about what you do, even in the privacy of your own home.