‘Smart City’ projects are really police cam-share programs in disguise




A recent article in the Erie-Times, revealed that ‘Secure Smart City’ (SSC) projects are really police cam-share programs in disguise.

The article boasts that the city of Erie will soon get fast, public Wi-Fi as well as a video surveillance system that can alert law enforcement of potential threats.

It starts to get interesting when Mayor Joe Schember admits that the SSC surveillance system “could relay real-time information to city officials”.

Spying on citizens in real-time is only the beginning of this privacy nightmare.

The Erie Downtown Partnership will give businesses $25,000 in grant money to purchase surveillance systems  However, “any business that receives such a grant must agree to voluntarily turn footage over to law enforcement if it can help solve a crime.”.

“John Buchna, the Erie Downtown Partnership’s executive director, said the Perry Square system complements his organization’s recent efforts to increase security downtown through a grant program that helps businesses buy surveillance cameras.”

Does any of this sound familiar?

Police cam-share programs start by law enforcement ‘asking’ businesses and homeowners to install surveillance cameras and turning over any footage to them. They market these programs as a way to improve the community by making cities and towns desirable to companies and visitors looking for safe streets. But often obscure the fact that their primary goal is surveilling citizens.

Who is behind police cam-share programs?



What is DHS’s connection to police cam-share programs?

The Erie Community Foundation works with the Ridge Policy Group, a lobbying firm created by Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security Secretary, and his long term senior advisors.

Two years ago, Mercyhurst University said they would take the lead in establishing a Downtown Erie Innovation District based on safety and security; thanks to a $4 million grant by the Erie Community Foundation. 



A study of non-profit organizations in Erie PA revealed that “nonprofits today face serious challenges—a realignment of public priorities and homeland security issues…”

Below are a couple more examples of DHS’s connections to SSC’s and police cam-share programs.

Last year the IJIS Institute, a nonprofit organization that is focused on public safety, and Homeland Security, gave ‘Project Green Light Detroit’ their 2017 IJIS Institute Innovation Award.



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