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Big Brother Street Lights in Las Vegas Can Listen and Watch

Las Vegas is currently installing Intellistreet lights to their well-lit city. But Intellistreets are not just any street-lighting system.

The wireless, LED lighting, computer-operated lights are not only capable of illuminating streets, they can also play music, interact with pedestrians and are equipped with video screens, which can display police alerts, weather alerts and traffic information. The high tech lights can also stream live video of activity in the surrounding area.

But there's one major concern.These new street lights, being rolled out with the aid of government funding, are also capable of recording video and audio.

There is no sign indicating that the streetlight standing right next you is in fact listening and watch your every move.  It's just like what was depicted in Sylvester Stallons' "Demolition Man".

Sin City's new streetlights have a few special capabilities that have civil libertarians up in arms. The city is installing Intellistreets, a brand of street lighting that is capable of recording video and audio of pedestrians and motorists. What happens in Vegas, it seems, no longer stays in Vegas.

But some residents worry that the lights, which are currently being tested in and around Las Vegas City Hall, are an invasion of privacy.

“This technology, you know is taking us to a place where, you know, you’ll essentially be monitored from the moment you leave your home till the moment you get home,” according to a concerned citizen.

On Intellistreets website, inventor Ron Harwood explains that cameras for surveillance and recording devices can be installed in the light fixtures. But Las Vegas public works director, Jorge Servantes told News 3 that recording pedestrians is not in the cards in the immediate future.

'Right now our intention is not to have any cameras or recording devices,' Servantes said. 'It’s just to provide output out there, not to get any feed or video feed coming back.'

That said, the lights are being touted as security devices that can assist with 'Homeland Security' measures by providing applications like video surveillance and motion sensors.

Some cities in the UK and Holland already have street lights that can talk and take surveillance video. They also reprimand people for minor offenses like littering.

One obvious benefit of a such system comes in the event of an emergency.  Intellistreets can provide useful information, such as Amber Alerts, threats including natural disasters or chemical spills, real-time evacuation procedures and other security concerns through visual monitors and audio messages.

In addition to Las Vegas, Intellistreets have been installed at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sony Pictures in Culver City, Calif., and the Navy Pier in Chicago.

Intellistreet lights are also energy efficient. They use far less energy than traditional street lamp systems.

The company website states the 'LED luminaire (lighting) saves more than 50% in energy while the addition of the Intellistreets PTM (Post Top Module) further enables a 25% reduction in energy and an additional 3 year life extension of the light engine.'

While the lights are controlled by remote Internet-based module, Harwood told MSNBC that he is not worried about hackers because the system is encrypted.

'If (hacking) ever happened, the systems sends a warning and shuts down,' Harwood said.

Big Brother Street Lights in Las Vegas Can Listen and Watch Reviewed by Blogs on 11:13 PM Rating: 5

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