Microsoft and New York City Show Off New Surveillance System

Microsoft and the New York Police Department has revealed to the world a unique crime-fighting system with a semblance to the sci-fi hologram data used by Tom Cruise in the futuristic film Minority Report, which would allow police officers to visualize vast amounts of data collected from 911 calls, license plate readers, police databases, and cameras, and collate them quickly.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the city will take a cut from profits if the technology will be sold to other administrations.

The new toy of New York police officers can display important information in real time, either visually or chronologically, to allow them to centralize information about crimes as they happen or are being reported. This is made possible by many screens, flashing visulas, and maps that make the room like a futuristic command-and-control hub. Named as the Domain Awareness System, this new tool was jointly developed by Microsoft engineers and New York police officers. DAS can do a lot of both mundane and  advanced surveillance techniques including common activities like tracking a suspicious vehicle by following its recent movements, or retracing its track to see where it left a suspicious package.

DAS features huge databases of the latest crime patterns, live video feeds, and can accept direct input anywhere in the city in real time like things from police radios or 911 calls.

Crime-fighting aside, DAS will also give New York City additional source of income for potential sales of the said technology to other cities in North America or around the world.

Critics of Bloomberg claims that the new system introduces such sensitive area as law enforcement to a profit motive scheme. The mayor thinks the project is good way to show how the public and private sectors can improve certain aspects of society and people’s lives. On top of that, the City of New York will not only become a safer city in the US, but potential sales can also benefit the coffers of the Big Apple.

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