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NYC Police 'Bug' City With Microphones — Pretend They're Listening for Gun Shots

The NYPD's street eavesdropping system will attach hundreds of hidden microphones to spy cameras around New York City.

Photo by Joe Loong.
Photo by Joe Loong.
By Rocco Parascandola
It’s been almost a week since New York Police Department deployed a new ShotSpotter gunshot detection system. However, the innovation has raised privacy concerns among New Yorkers while tracking loud bangs, the system records private conversations.

Questions arose after New York Police Department deployed 300 hidden microphone sensors around the city. They are aimed at identifying the sound of gun shots, and then activate nearby cameras and immediately alert law enforcement officials.

The two-year pilot program will cost New York a total of $1.5million annually.

Both the mayor Bill de Blasio and police commissioner William Bratton say that ShotSpotter should help officers to respond more quickly to shootings. According to statistics, in 75 percent of cases when people hear a gun shot sound, they do not report it to the police.

The ShotSpotter is aimed at fixing that. Its sensors are connected to thousands of cameras set up around the city as part of the its Domain Awareness System, an all-seeing intelligence-analysis complex that collects and analyzes data captured by surveillance cameras, gunshot detectors, license plate readers, Geographic Information Systems mapping and social media feeds.

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