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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cactus Cameras Prickle Residents of Paradise Valley, AZ.


Over the past several days, residents of Paradise Valley, Arizona have noticed workers installing fake saguaro cacti equipped with cameras around  their city. At first police and city hall were not willing to reveal the purpose of these cameras, but the truth was later given by the Town Manager. According to Fox10-Phoenix:
police cactus cameras

“The town is embarking on the installation of license plate readers,” said Kevin Burke, Paradise Valley Town Manager.
Burke says the cameras run license plates of cars against a hot list database. If the car is stolen, or the subject of an amber alert, the police will be notified.
FOX 10 did a story in February about the same technology being installed on traffic lights, the city also declined to talk publicly then too.
So why is the city not being public about this?
“Again, not trying to hide anything, the police department, this was my request of before we get going at these one at a time, lets get them all together and make sure we understand and everybody is on the same page,” he said.
Burke said the cameras are not active at this point.
“We want to make sure we’re answering everyone’s questions about data retention, how the things will be used, we want to make sure that is vetted before we turn these things up,” said Burke.
Some would say they should have been vetted before they went up.
“It probably is fair, this is technology, we’re always learning about it, and so every time you think you’ve got it covered someone brings up a new idea,” he said.
Burke said the cameras are not being put in fake cactus to be secretive, but because there are no light poles in the area to put them on. He says they’re trying to make the cameras aesthetically pleasing. It’s all part of a $2 million police technology upgrade the council passed last year.

And so it is that Big Brother slinks through the desert like Wile E. Coyote, his identity absorbed into the background through a nature-imitating disguise, while citizen Road Runner blitzes by obliviously. And yet neither Orwell nor Looney Tunes could ever have imagined the surreal lengths that the actual surveillance and police state go to in order to maintain an iron fist of profitable control over us. The whole incident is so bizarre that my inclination is just to laugh about it, but until I have received the proper permits for humorous outbursts I will have to hold it in, or the owl-cams in the tree outside my window might betray my illicit guffaws.