What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…right? Well, maybe not anymore as Las Vegas is installing Intellistreets. They are street lights that have many features, not just illumination; they include the ability to shoot video and record sound. Which, in these troublesome days of surveillance, some people are finding more than a little worrying. In fact they are going so far as to imply, it is downright spying.
The company behind Intellistreets, Illuminating Concepts has as its motto: “Assisting in the Creation of Memorable Environments since 1981.” The word “memorable” is of an interest to some. Las Vegas public works Director Jorge Cervantes told MyNews3 that this was all entirely innocent: “Right now our intention is not to have any cameras or recording device. It’s just to provide output out there, not to get any feed or video feed coming back.” Those who feel their privacy has been co-opted by everyone from a leader of a social media platform to a government official of a certain job title (what do you call a spy anyway? is it a government operative?) will be focusing only on two of Cervantes’s words: “Right now.”
But if we are to believe the words of Neil Rohleder, of the city’s Public Works Department: “We want to develop an experience for the people who come downtown.” We should feel safe, right? However, it does beg the question; what kind of experience do they want to develop?
Intellistreets is controlled from an iPad. So, should anyone have reprehensible intentions and some hacking skills, they will to be able to carry out their evil plan, with the greatest of ease. The video of how the system works spends an awful lot of its time presenting a compelling case for its brilliance, however, near the end of the film, there is this phrase: “Intellistreets also enables a myriad of homeland security features.” A myriad of homeland security features sounds a lot like; abundant ways to spy on people using new technology. Will it be easy for someone to manipulate the data, hack the system or sell someone’s antics to the highest bidder? Who knows? But I don’t plan on spending anytime in Vegas in the near future, do you?
[Image via: publicintelligence]