iSpy vs. gSpy

January 7, 2013

(Credit: Hustvedt/Wikimedia Commons)

We are all being watched, whether we like it or not.

It is a battle between you and the government — like Mad Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy comic, but it’s gSpy vs. iSpy, Andy Kessler, author of Eat People, writes in The Wall Street Journal.

There are thousands of toll booths at bridges and turnpikes across America recording your license plate. There are 4,214 red-light cameras and 761 speed-trap cameras around the country. Add 494,151 cell towers and 400,000 ATMs that record video of your transactions.

Popular Mechanics magazine estimates that there are some 30 million commercial surveillance cameras in the U.S. logging billions of hours of video a week.

We are watching back. I know the precise number of red-light cameras because a website ( crowdsources their locations and updates them daily for download to GPS devices. And 30 million surveillance cameras are a pittance compared with the 327 million cellphones in use across America, almost all of them with video cameras built in.

But gSpy is going further. Already a third of large U.S. police forces equip patrol cars with automatic license plate-readers that can check 1,000 plates per hour looking for scofflaws. U.S. Border Patrol already uses iris-recognition technology, with facial-recognition in the works, if not already deployed.

How long until police identify 1,000 faces per hour walking around the streets of New York?

H/T: Stuart Silverstone