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Prying Eyes?

5:45 PM -- I'm no one's idea of a privacy expert, so I'm not even going to comment on the wider ramifications of the news that the New York City police department has quietly started to install wireless survelliance cameras in the streets of the metropolis.

I do, however, know a little -- some would say too little -- about wireless, which is why I wonder what radio frequencies those wireless eyes in the sky are running on.

If it's the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands -- also used for WiFi, Bluetooth, and other transmisssions -- then will the cameras affect nearby wireless LAN networks? Wireless cameras have long been known to enterprise types as a potential interference source for corporate wireless LAN networks. It is, however, quite possible that the cameras will run on another band, such as the 4.9GHz public safety band. But I can't confirm that today. I spoke to a representative from the NYPD who told me that they deal with such inquires via fax!

Nonetheless, New Yorkers will doubtless soon be able to find out firsthand. Initial cameras have been installed along a stretch of Knickerbocker Avenue in Brooklyn, attached to lampposts about 30 feet above the sidewalk. The eventual aim of the program is to place 500 cameras throughout the city at a cost of around $9 million.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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