Friday, February 25, 2011

1,500 Cameras Watch Over the San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International AirportYou know those paranoid people who are always spouting about how "big brother is always watching us?" Well, some of them may be right, at least if they live near the San Francisco International Airport. You see, from the moment you leave the freeway until the moment you board your plane you are being closely monitored by 1,500 video surveillance cameras which are a part of the SFO's new one-of-a-kind surveillance system.

The system is definitely interesting and leaves nothing unwatched. With the SFO's system, two groups of security analysts watch a wall of security monitors, the TSA (in-between pat-downs) watches the checkpoints and SFO security workers watch everything else. According to Kim Dickie, Assistant Deputy Airport Director at SFO, "We are focused overall so if we have an incident anywhere in the airport we really want to be able to have a view of that."

The interesting part is that there are only a handful of airports in the entire world that have a security setup like this. $20 million worth of security cameras are already in use and an additional $1.5 million more is being spent on the new SFO terminal opening in a few months. "We keep adding cameras every month and every day," said SFO security analyst Liam O'Byrne.

That is a lot of money on a security setup and it begs the perennial question of how closely are travelers being being watched? Let's just say that your process of driving into the airport, parking at the curb, going through security and walking to the gate is all monitored. The cameras pick up your every move. Believe it or not, even with 1,500 cameras there are still a few holes in the system. The TSA definitely wants you to know they are watching, but they do not want you to know where they are not.

There are at least 20 visible cameras on your drive through the airport, your walk through security and your trip through the terminal. However, it is also very clear that there are cameras along that route that are not visible since the SFO stated that there are more than 30 cameras that monitor that particular trek through the airport.

The cameras cannot watch every single person at every single moment they are in the airport, but what they can do is go through footage to see if a person who started a fight in the terminal got drunk at one of the airport bars earlier. If somebody accuses a security agent, or anybody for that matter, of stealing or of "inappropriate conduct", then reviewing the footage from the cameras can back up or refute that claim. Even the SFO employees know they are being watched. According to O'Byrne, "Thefts have gone drastically down because we can watch them and employees all know." One thing is for certain, the cameras are expected and security officials believe that they work.

Source: - New Camera System Keeps Watchful Eye Over SFO

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1 comment:

  1. Now these days security is a vital concern that why lot of money is spend on a security setup. In this manner CCTV Security Products are used which leaves nothing unwatched.