NYPD’s ‘Operation Sentinel’ To Track EVERYTHING

NYPD’s ‘Operation Sentinel’ To Track EVERYTHING

Radiation Sensors, Surveillance Cameras Used To Screen & Follow Every Vehicle Entering Lower Manhattan

Plan Aims To Provide Security Blanket Against Terrorist Attack

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NEW YORK (CBS) ― It’s called "Operation Sentinel" and it proves just how far the NYPD will go to protect this city from terrorists. The plan involves some high-tech tracking that is coming under fire from some groups.

New York City is going to great lengths to make sure that bomb-toting terrorists can’t reach us.

"New York City is something special," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday. "It’s not just a very big city in this world. It is, in many senses, the iconic city. It represents Western Democracy.

As part of the plan the NYPD is creating a huge buffer zone, working with cops in a 50-mile radius of the city. Officials in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Long Island are given radiation detectors to stop terrorists as far away from New York City as possible.

Police also plan to track every vehicle that enters Manhattan.

"We’re going to be adding cameras as we go forward," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

That part of that plan calls for photographing and scanning license plates of cars and trucks at all bridges and tunnels. Even small ones like the Willis Avenue Bridge will also be used to detect radiation.

"I don’t think it’s hyperbole to call this Big Brotherish," said Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "The New York City Police Department is creating a huge computer database of the movement of everyone in a vehicle in Manhattan."

Civil libertarians take issue with one aspect of that plan – data on each vehicle entering Manhattan would be stored for at least one month. Bloomberg, however, defended the idea.

"It is always a balance between freedoms to come and go between civil liberties and security, and I think we pretty much have the balance pretty much right," Bloomberg said.

The reaction of New Yorkers CBS 2 HD spoke to were mixed.

"I guess I would feel safer in light of everything that happened," said Tavis Rivere of Ridgewood, N.J. "The city has been under a lot of, you know, pressures and stuff."

"It’s a violation — I mean it’s ridiculous," said Sharday Hill of Teaneck, N.J. "I don’t know want everybody or someone knowing where I’m at 24 hours a day."

The city also intends on putting Lower Manhattan in a so-called "ring of steel," with 3,000 public and private security cameras below Canal Street. There will be 600 cops assigned to protect ground zero.

NYC police propose massive public snooping system

08/12/2008 @ 11:10 am

Filed by Stephen C. Webster


With mass surveillance systems now prevalent in London, the burial place of George Orwell, America’s ‘Big Apple’ is mulling its own ‘Big Brother’ network.

In a proposal by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, ‘Operation Sentinel’ would create a technological surveillance veil that scans license plates and photographs vehicles as they cross bridges and enter or exit tunnels. Radiological detectors would also be installed to sniff out potential terrorism threats.

Data collected by the snooping would be stored for one month at a command center in Lower Manhattan. In all, some 3,000 public and private security cameras would be deployed.

"’This is just a planning document,’" said Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, to the New York Times. "It’s a vision of how it will work if all the components come together."

The public snooping technology is inspired by a system installed by the British government in London, which has blanketed the city in the view of cameras, range of microphones, and earshot of government minders who can actually speak to pedestrians through a massive PA system.

The British government also had radio frequency identification chips installed in every vehicle’s license plates, the identifying signals from which are capable of being read over 300 feet away.

"We definitely have an interest in testing an RFID-tagged license plate," claimed Jerry Dike, chairman of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, in a 2005 report by Wired Magazine. No such measure has been proposed for New York City, however.

While the 3,000 cameras the New York proposal suggests are a far cry from the UK’s estimated 4.2 million, ‘Operations Sentinel’ features a few additional nuances not found in London.

In related security initiatives, ground zero would be enclosed in a security zone which only pre-screened vehicles may enter. Additionally, dozens of security booths would be built on high traffic corners to monitor pedestrians and passing vehicles. Movable roadblocks in the financial district would also block traffic as authorities deem necessary, with some streets exclusively reserved for emergency personnel.

The plan has caused some consternation among area business owners, who fear the measures would create an environment unfriendly to workers.

Should police have no use for the data collected by ‘Operation Sentinel,’ it would be deleted within 30 days, a spokesman said.

No estimate as to when ‘Operation Sentinel’ may be in place has been provided, though police expect related security measures, centered on protecting ground zero and the financial district, to be running by 2010.

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