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Amnesty International logging every CCTV camera in NYC

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An Amnesty International project known as Decoders is organizing a virtual inventory of CCTV and other public cameras in New York City that can be used with face biometrics.

The number will be large, though it will not be known how many lenses perform facial recognition surveillance.

Decoders is a five-year-old crowdsourcing effort to uncover abuses of people and their rights around the globe. In the case of Decode Surveillance NYC, the goal is to present government officials and citizens with the scale of electronic watching.

In describing the newest effort, Amnesty organizers note that the estimated thousands of cameras “can be used with facial recognition software.”

Volunteers look at a Google Street View image of an intersection, tagging visible cameras and describing what they are attached to.

On deadline, 1,802 volunteers were using phones and computers to analyze 21,642 locations in the five boroughs, according to the group. Fifty-two percent of the locations had been logged.

Amnesty launched a “Ban the Scan” campaign in New York earlier this year, and said at the time it plans to crowdsource facial recognition maps in New Delhi and the West Bank in the future.

A similar crowdsourcing effort was used last year in Serbia to gather information on cameras with face biometrics provided by Huawei.

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