Las Vegas street lights can record your conversations

By Staff Writer 11/10/2013 18:34:00

Las Vegas street lights can record your conversations

  • Wireless street lights can play music, video, interact with pedestrians and have 'Homeland Security' applications like video surveillance monitors
  • Las Vegas residents worry that the lights are an invasion of privacy -
    'Who's protecting our rights?
  • Some cities in the UK and Holland have street lights that reprimand pedestrians for minor offenses like littering

By Mail Online Reporter

PUBLISHED: 12:31 EST, 10 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:34 EST, 10 November 2013

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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.

lamp

New street lights currently being installed in Las Vegas are capable of recording video and audio. Some worry this is yet another attempt by authorities to potentially invade the public's privacy.

Neil Rohleder with the Public Works Department told NBC News 3 in Las Vegas that the main reason for installing the new lighting system is not to record anyone or anything.

'We want to develop more than just the street lighting component,' Rohleder said.'We want to develop an experience for the people who come downtown.'

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

Civil rights activist, Daphne Lee told NBC News 3 that she is worried about her freedom as an American citizen.

“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,” said Lee.

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.

Lee wonders who protecting our rights?

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is currently installing Intellistreet lights to their well-lit city. 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. They are also capable of recording video and audio.

'At what point do we say this is the land of the free,' Lee told News 3. 'People have a right to a reasonable amount of privacy.'

But Harwood defended his lighting system when he spoke with MSNBC in 2011.

'I find that when I have to go to the airport and I have to take most of my clothes off and walk through a scanner, that's far more invasive than anything Intellistreets does,' Harwood said.

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.

In addition to recording capabilities the Intellistreet lights are energy efficient. They use far less energy than traditional street lamp systems.

Vegas

With the installation of street lights capable of recording audio and video surveillance in Las Vegas, civil rights activist, Daphne Lee is worried about her freedom as an American citizen.

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.

 
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