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AIR Baltimore vs 4th Amendment


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Appeals Court Rules Aerial Police Tracking of Citizens Violates Fourth Amendment
 

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The use of surveillance planes in Baltimore to track people's movement for long periods without a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The case revolved around an air surveillance program run by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) called Aerial Investigation Research (AIR). Beginning in 2016, BPD announced it would be using cameras attached to planes to conduct aerial surveillance to fight crime. The program was discontinued in response to public anger over the snooping.

But in 2019, the program returned as AIR. The city approved a contract between BPD and a private company in April 2020. During daylight hours, the planes would fly over the city recording images of the outdoor activity of about 90 percent of Baltimore. The images were stored and could be used to track the movements of individuals connected to particular crimes like homicides, carjackings, and armed robberies.

But the police did not request a warrant to go back and look at this collected data. A community activist group, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), sued, noting that its advocacy involves traveling to and visiting locations of crimes and gun violence, meaning that its members' movements could be tracked by AIR. It argued that this unwarranted surveillance constituted a violation of members' Fourth Amendment rights and asked the courts to issue an injunction to stop it.

Concerns about the use of aerial surveillance grew throughout 2020 into 2021 as Americans discovered the Department of Homeland Security used drones to spy on protesters who took to the streets to demand policing reform after George Floyd's death. Among those who signed on to amici briefs supporting Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle were the NAACP, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the limited-government conservatives of the FreedomWorks Foundation.

On Thursday, judges from the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a lower court decision and agreed with the ACLU. The majority opinion, written by Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory, determined that "because the AIR program enables police to deduce from the whole of individuals' movements, we hold that accessing its data is a search, and its warrantless operation violates the Fourth Amendment."

The majority opinion draws heavily from the Supreme Court's 2018 Carpenter v. United States decision, which held that warrantless tracking of people via their cellphone location data violated the Fourth Amendment. In that opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, "A person does not surrender all Fourth Amendment protection by venturing into the public sphere." That explanation is used here by the 4th Circuit to explain why BPD can't use aerial surveillance data for the same purpose.

...

 

It's the three word answer that cops often don't want to hear:

Get a warrant.

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I am not sure I understand this. There is no law against me flying around over Baltimore and taking photos of anything or anyone I want to. If this plane is not legal, how are the 1001 other surveillance cameras legal?

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53 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I am not sure I understand this. There is no law against me flying around over Baltimore and taking photos of anything or anyone I want to. If this plane is not legal, how are the 1001 other surveillance cameras legal?

This puts the system in systematic racism.

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11 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I am not sure I understand this. There is no law against me flying around over Baltimore and taking photos of anything or anyone I want to. If this plane is not legal, how are the 1001 other surveillance cameras legal?

The issue is not the plane or the photographs.

It's about police needing a warrant to access the photos.

 

What's weird to me is that these "rights" are more about catching perpetrators after a crime has happened rather than preventing crime.

 

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I think.... (And I may be wrong) that it has to do with targeted surveillance more than general flying around taking pictures. If the "target" is being specifically followed, and photographed w/o their knowledge..... BUT then again, cops have used stake out photos for over a century..... So.... I dunno.

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14 minutes ago, Mrleft8 said:

I think.... (And I may be wrong) that it has to do with targeted surveillance more than general flying around taking pictures. If the "target" is being specifically followed, and photographed w/o their knowledge..... BUT then again, cops have used stake out photos for over a century..... So.... I dunno.

Do stake out photos require a warrant?

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Just now, Ease the sheet. said:

Stake out photos require a warrant....

It doesn't require a warrant to take them. (That's theoretically public domain) It just requires a warrant to use them as evidence. But if you show a judge public domain photographs in order to obtain a warrant.....  Once again, I dunno.

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Just now, Mrleft8 said:

It doesn't require a warrant to take them. (That's theoretically public domain) It just requires a warrant to use them as evidence. But if you show a judge public domain photographs in order to obtain a warrant.....  Once again, I dunno.

Me either.

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11 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I am not sure I understand this. There is no law against me flying around over Baltimore and taking photos of anything or anyone I want to. If this plane is not legal, how are the 1001 other surveillance cameras legal?

The name of the contractor is well-chosen. Persistent Surveillance. The persistent and prolonged surveillance reveals information that was not previously knowable, much like in the Carpenter case.

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Most modern countries intel services have the capability to follow someone using multiple CCTV cameras in town centres and using highway cams, without warrants, using planes is becoming so last century.

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It’s common practice in the uk and in oz for police to have access to council public space cctv cameras. A local council  has just bought about 30 specialised number plate recognition cameras and the analytics servers for the police that are of zero benefit to council, but enormous benefit for the police.

The councils pay for and maintain the infrastructure but don’t 24/7 monitor the cameras, they just want recordings of and  in case of any incidents.

The coppers don’t pay for the system but provide the live monitoring. 
 

win win.

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It seems the 21st century is cradle to grave monitoring.  China is way ahead of the game.  UK and NL are up there as well.  Yeh, I don't like it, but the devil is in the detail and in the US the potential for over reach and abuse is second nature to the way law efforcement operates here. 

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10 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

It’s common practice in the uk and in oz for police to have access to council public space cctv cameras. A local council  has just bought about 30 specialised number plate recognition cameras and the analytics servers for the police that are of zero benefit to council, but enormous benefit for the police.

The councils pay for and maintain the infrastructure but don’t 24/7 monitor the cameras, they just want recordings of and  in case of any incidents.

The coppers don’t pay for the system but provide the live monitoring. 
 

win win.

Big argument here in the USA about camera-based traffic enforcement. Apparently a lot of people believe they have a "right" to speed and run red lights, and using a camera to take pictures of them violating the law in a public place is a violation of their rights.

One advantage of living in a POA/HOA controlled community... driving thru our gate is entering private property. There's a sign... and a camera... right there, informing you that entry constitutes consent to being photographed.

We had some crime, a few years ago. Relative of a resident was burglarizing cars and garages. Took about two weeks to catch him, thanks to photo evidence he's serving a sentence for every single item he stole. Of course he'll be eligible for parole after growing his 49th acre of peas, but he won't be back.

- DSK

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7 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Big argument here in the USA about camera-based traffic enforcement. Apparently a lot of people believe they have a "right" to speed and run red lights, and using a camera to take pictures of them violating the law in a public place is a violation of their rights.

I haven't heard of those people. Have heard of people (well, OK, one person) who proved they were altering the timing of red lights to enhance revenue, nothing to do with safety. That scofflaw proved it by doing math without a license, which turned out to be legal in his case.

But changing the timing of lights to fleece motorists is another thread and really has nothing to do with the kinds of searches ruled unconstitutional in the topic case.

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7 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Big argument here in the USA about camera-based traffic enforcement. Apparently a lot of people believe they have a "right" to speed and run red lights, and using a camera to take pictures of them violating the law in a public place is a violation of their rights.

 

No, speaking from my hood, overall they were losing money, not what the program was designed to do.  It was costing the courts more to get the fines paid in some instance more that what the fine was, then there was the fee to the company that ran the cameras.

And there were many legal challenges... out here a guy got red light ticket and he went around the county and timed the yellow to red transition on the camera lights.  The transition for traffic light that didn't have a camera was longer that those that did. Took it to court and won, and forced them to go fix the problem and allowed for many others to challenge their tickets.   There was another challenge that they weren't even at the most dangerous intersections — just politically placed in each council member's district - typical shit

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Ventucky Red said:
8 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

Big argument here in the USA about camera-based traffic enforcement. Apparently a lot of people believe they have a "right" to speed and run red lights, and using a camera to take pictures of them violating the law in a public place is a violation of their rights.

 

No, speaking from my hood, overall they were losing money, not what the program was designed to do.  It was costing the courts more to get the fines paid in some instance more that what the fine was, then there was the fee to the company that ran the cameras.

And there were many legal challenges... out here a guy got red light ticket and he went around the county and timed the yellow to red transition on the camera lights.  The transition for traffic light that didn't have a camera was longer that those that did. Took it to court and won, and forced them to go fix the problem and allowed for many others to challenge their tickets.   There was another challenge that they weren't even at the most dangerous intersections — just politically placed in each council member's district - typical shit

Which is bullshit IMHO

If you run a red light, you have run a fucking red light.

I would tend to agree that communities should not subcontract law enforcement to camera operating companies, which is part of the story we hear in some of these cases, but that does not change the basic fact of breaking the law and creating a potentially deadly traffic hazard in a public road.

Another story I've heard in regard to traffic enforcement cameras is that they cannot stop the car and give a ticket to the driver. That is at least a somewhat legitimate beef, in the absence of expectation of being responsible for a car you own, and camera enforcement. When you know that you will be held responsible, and running red lights and/or speed limits will be camera-enforced, then that excuse goes away.

I know that America has a large dose of scofflaw mentality in it's culture, but I've never thought of it as something that ought be given free reign.

- DSK

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19 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Which is bullshit IMHO

If you run a red light, you have run a fucking red light.

He's talking about the case I referenced and changing the duration of the yellow lights was just a revenue measure, nothing to do with safety.

Ultimately, the bullshit got flushed by the court and to top it off, Oregon adopted the (unlicensed) math that was the subject of the court case.

20 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

I know that America has a large dose of scofflaw mentality in it's culture, but I've never thought of it as something that ought be given free reign.

Try to develop a little tolerance. Not too much. Use my example of tolerating people who don't know "reign" from "rein."

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4 minutes ago, Excoded Tom said:

He's talking about the case I referenced and changing the duration of the yellow lights was just a revenue measure, nothing to do with safety.

I guess if you're a LIBERTARIAN fuck head, running red lights has "nothing to do with safety"

For the rest of us, that just sounds like you're both incredibly stupid and incredibly heedless of others.

- DSK

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We have had speed cams a long time in NZ, when they first came out all sorts of smart dudes were moaning and bitching about calibration and unfairness.

We even had one smartass that when presented with a photo of his car speeding, decided to send the police a photo of the check "paying" the fine they sent him another photo back of handcuffs........he sent the check.

We now have private contractors that park camera vans along roads and highways to snap speeders,  often at the bottom of long hills by the way,  but everything is calibrated and documented and good luck getting out a fine.

Now it's got to the point of ridiculous, Auckland council has installed 68 cameras along a 2.3 km (1.4 mile) stretch of road to catch people illegally using the bus lanes or having less than three people in the car using that lane.

Its no longer about safety it has become another source of revenue for a council that like many across the world spends more than it gets.

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4 minutes ago, Navig8tor said:

We have had speed cams a long time in NZ, when they first came out all sorts of smart dudes were moaning and bitching about calibration and unfairness.

We even had one smartass that when presented with a photo of his car speeding, decided to send the police a photo of the check "paying" the fine they sent him another photo back of handcuffs........he sent the check.

We now have private contractors that park camera vans along roads and highways to snap speeders,  often at the bottom of long hills by the way,  but everything is calibrated and documented and good luck getting out a fine.

Now it's got to the point of ridiculous, Auckland council has installed 68 cameras along a 2.3 km (1.4 mile) stretch of road to catch people illegally using the bus lanes or having less than three people in the car using that lane.

Its no longer about safety it has become another source of revenue for a council that like many across the world spends more than it gets.

If people did not break the law, there would be no revenue

- DSK

 

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16 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

If people did not break the law, there would be no revenue

- DSK

 

Agree in principle.

Or in the case I've mentioned common sense should prevail the road in question is gridlocked morning and evening with a bus lane and one other.

If they reduced the minimum number of people in a car using the bus lane to 2 it would improve traffic flow immensley, however we have a council trying to make using a car to get to work as difficult as possible while not yet being able to meet the demands placed upon the public transport options.

Lets make it difficult and costly that will sure get people on buses.......yeah right.

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1 hour ago, Navig8tor said:

We have had speed cams a long time in NZ, when they first came out all sorts of smart dudes were moaning and bitching about calibration and unfairness.

We even had one smartass that when presented with a photo of his car speeding, decided to send the police a photo of the check "paying" the fine they sent him another photo back of handcuffs........he sent the check.

We now have private contractors that park camera vans along roads and highways to snap speeders,  often at the bottom of long hills by the way,  but everything is calibrated and documented and good luck getting out a fine.

Now it's got to the point of ridiculous, Auckland council has installed 68 cameras along a 2.3 km (1.4 mile) stretch of road to catch people illegally using the bus lanes or having less than three people in the car using that lane.

Its no longer about safety it has become another source of revenue for a council that like many across the world spends more than it gets.

Car fines are a choice.

I look at them as a tax for dumb people.

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41 minutes ago, Navig8tor said:

Agree in principle.

Or in the case I've mentioned common sense should prevail the road in question is gridlocked morning and evening with a bus lane and one other.

If they reduced the minimum number of people in a car using the bus lane to 2 it would improve traffic flow immensley, however we have a council trying to make using a car to get to work as difficult as possible while not yet being able to meet the demands placed upon the public transport options.

Lets make it difficult and costly that will sure get people on buses.......yeah right.

?? How would reducing people in cars using the bus lane improve traffic flow? There would be more cars on the road and the bus lane would be more crowded, making the intelligent people riding the bus late too.

I'm not getting much of a feeling of sensible debate on public policy here. The taxpayers would have to pay a hell of a lot more in taxes for a big wide road for lots of cars with one or 2 people each, so you'd be getting money taken out of your pocket for that, if you got it.

Now you have the option of planning your day sensibly, and avoiding the fine. However FWIW you have my sympathy on traffic, I hate traffic jams myself

- DSK

 

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11 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:
11 hours ago, Excoded Tom said:

He's talking about the case I referenced and changing the duration of the yellow lights was just a revenue measure, nothing to do with safety.

I guess if you're a LIBERTARIAN fuck head, running red lights has "nothing to do with safety"

You guessed wrong as usual. You could just ask. Or, better still, comment on changing the timing of yellow lights only on camera-equipped lights. I guess if you're a BIG GOVT fuck head, playing tricks like that to move money from private hands to government ones is just fine. Glad the courts disagreed with you.

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13 hours ago, Excoded Tom said:

Try to develop a little tolerance. Not too much. Use my example of tolerating people who don't know "reign" from "rein."

Or right from Reich.

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1 hour ago, Excoded Tom said:
13 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:
13 hours ago, Excoded Tom said:

He's talking about the case I referenced and changing the duration of the yellow lights was just a revenue measure, nothing to do with safety.

I guess if you're a LIBERTARIAN fuck head, running red lights has "nothing to do with safety"

You guessed wrong as usual. You could just ask. Or, better still, comment on changing the timing of yellow lights only on camera-equipped lights. I guess if you're a BIG GOVT fuck head, playing tricks like that to move money from private hands to government ones is just fine. Glad the courts disagreed with you.

You win again, Tom.

Expecting drivers to stop for red lights is clearly a BIG GOVT intrusion on your rights

- DSK

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2 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

You win again, Tom.

Expecting drivers to stop for red lights is clearly a BIG GOVT intrusion on your rights

- DSK

Except, driving is not a right, it is a privilege. And yes big government has a say so on the rules and regs.. 

Local DMV code is nothing compared to the FAA....  they have a while part on ways the can take your privilege away

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13 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

You win again, Tom.

Expecting drivers to stop for red lights is clearly a BIG GOVT intrusion on your rights

- DSK

Trying to troll Tom on this is boring. I *know* you're not this stupid.

If intersections with cameras have a significantly shorter time between yellow-red than intersections without cameras, there has to be a reason for it. The most obvious one is revenue raising. Not necessarily the only reason, but the most obvious one and one that requires rebuttal. Such rebuttal, from what's been posted here, did not happen.

Ergo, revenue raising by reducing the cycle time.

And NOTHING to do with running red lights.

Unless of course you are of the opinion that nobody should ever enter an intersection on a yellow light. Which opinion is your right to hold, but it's not the norm.

What you're doing is the equivalent of verballing someone simply because you dislike them. It's annoying. Easy enough to hassle Tom on what he actually says rather then inventing bullshit and pretending he said it.

Whatever.

FKT

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On 6/28/2021 at 3:19 AM, Excoded Tom said:

Appeals Court Rules Aerial Police Tracking of Citizens Violates Fourth Amendment
 

It's the three word answer that cops often don't want to hear:

Get a warrant.

Oh, I thought those three words were:  "Expectation of Privacy"?

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The one thing that may not be clear here regarding this airborne surveillance is that the airplane or airborne camera is absolutely NOT following any individual person.  It's simply a system of multiple cameras that can take constant pics/video of the entire area/city/whatever over a long period of time.  The video is then downloaded, all the individual camera footage is then "stitched together" into a composite of the entire area and stored for later use.  Once there is an incident at X location, they can then go back and find the timestamp of the incident and then see all the people and vehicles who were there at the time and then "follow" each target of interest to see where they went and what they did.  It's a powerful investigative tool because now you can narrow down your search to a few needles in just parts of the haystack rather than have to sift through the entire pile of straws.  

It's pretty cool tech borne out of the DOD and JSOC programs to find AQ terrorists in their various ratholes as well as insurgents in Iraq planting IEDs and such.  We would have constant surveillance via various means and if a roadside bomb went boom on a convoy, we could go back in time and see them digging the hole for the bomb and then follow them back to where the scurried off to thinking they were safe and got away with it..... until the Delta team kicks in their door and killed them.  

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18 minutes ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Trying to troll Tom on this is boring. I *know* you're not this stupid.

If intersections with cameras have a significantly shorter time between yellow-red than intersections without cameras, there has to be a reason for it. The most obvious one is revenue raising. Not necessarily the only reason, but the most obvious one and one that requires rebuttal. Such rebuttal, from what's been posted here, did not happen.

Ergo, revenue raising by reducing the cycle time.

And NOTHING to do with running red lights.

Unless of course you are of the opinion that nobody should ever enter an intersection on a yellow light. Which opinion is your right to hold, but it's not the norm.

What you're doing is the equivalent of verballing someone simply because you dislike them. It's annoying. Easy enough to hassle Tom on what he actually says rather then inventing bullshit and pretending he said it.

Whatever.

FKT

You can agree with Tom that running red lights has "nothing to do with safety" but that doesn't mean I'm spitballing him

Unless they have some gizmo that can change the timing of the light as you enter it, which is easily possible but that's not what I've seen described, then reasonable expectation is that you will STOP on the warning that you are about to run a red light. Traffic laws are laws and this particular one is absolutely a safety matter.

If you don't run the red light, you don't get a ticket

There are ways that traffic enforcement cameras have been established & operated that I disagree with, and already stated so... for example giving the money from tickets to a private agency so that they have an incentive to give more.... as well as effectively giving law enforcement agency to a private corporation

Disclaimer... my community has a problem with speeders and we are trialing speed-monitoring cameras... it so happens that they will be able to both get car plate and most of the time, a photo of the driver also, but this is one of those horrible terrible HOA/POAs, it's private property.

- DSK

 

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2 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Trying to troll Tom on this is boring. I *know* you're not this stupid.

If intersections with cameras have a significantly shorter time between yellow-red than intersections without cameras, there has to be a reason for it. The most obvious one is revenue raising. Not necessarily the only reason, but the most obvious one and one that requires rebuttal. Such rebuttal, from what's been posted here, did not happen.

Ergo, revenue raising by reducing the cycle time.

And NOTHING to do with running red lights.

Unless of course you are of the opinion that nobody should ever enter an intersection on a yellow light. Which opinion is your right to hold, but it's not the norm.

What you're doing is the equivalent of verballing someone simply because you dislike them. It's annoying. Easy enough to hassle Tom on what he actually says rather then inventing bullshit and pretending he said it.

Whatever.

FKT

 

 

I know of a situation in Victoria where the period of time the light was yellow was less than the acknowledged time a truck could actually stop in.

https://www.fullyloaded.com.au/industry-news/2004/why-red-light-cameras-are-dice-loaded-against-trucks

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8 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

You can agree with Tom that running red lights has "nothing to do with safety" but that doesn't mean I'm spitballing him

Actually, I said using the cameras has nothing to do with safety and is all about raising revenue. You created that other straw man.

Of course, I provided evidence, and of course I did it in the relevant thread.

  

On 5/21/2019 at 6:54 AM, Excoded Tom said:

But there's actually very little evidence that red light cameras actually improve public safety. Study after study often says the opposite, and some communities have stopped using them without being directed to by their state governments.


Where's your  evidence that these off topic cameras enhance safety?

Or, better still, your opinion on the actual thread topic?

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On 6/30/2021 at 9:13 PM, Burning Man said:

The one thing that may not be clear here regarding this airborne surveillance is that the airplane or airborne camera is absolutely NOT following any individual person.  It's simply a system of multiple cameras that can take constant pics/video of the entire area/city/whatever over a long period of time.  The video is then downloaded, all the individual camera footage is then "stitched together" into a composite of the entire area and stored for later use.  Once there is an incident at X location, they can then go back and find the timestamp of the incident and then see all the people and vehicles who were there at the time and then "follow" each target of interest to see where they went and what they did.  It's a powerful investigative tool because now you can narrow down your search to a few needles in just parts of the haystack rather than have to sift through the entire pile of straws.  

It's pretty cool tech borne out of the DOD and JSOC programs to find AQ terrorists in their various ratholes as well as insurgents in Iraq planting IEDs and such.  We would have constant surveillance via various means and if a roadside bomb went boom on a convoy, we could go back in time and see them digging the hole for the bomb and then follow them back to where the scurried off to thinking they were safe and got away with it..... until the Delta team kicks in their door and killed them.  

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals sees it as unconstitutional, no matter how "cool" it may be.

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