Security Advisor

Microsoft's Eye in the Big Apple

Big brother asks Microsoft for some assistance.

When the Surface tablet was announced earlier this month, many found it a bit surprising that Microsoft was following Apple's lead into the consumer hardware market. However, some may find last week's news that Microsoft is getting into physical security market even more surprising.

In a big press gathering in New York City last week,  local city officials and Microsoft announced that the software (and now hardware) company helped to develop a law enforcement system that can aggregate and analyze info from city cameras, police reports and other databases to locate and track suspicious activity.

Even for those not donning a hat made out of tin foil, the idea of a sophisticated surveillance system that can track anyone at anytime, wherever they go in the city is pretty worrying.  Just like anything that potentially has an impact on our civil liberties, the debate should be pretty interesting.

What else is interesting (and less controversial) is the fact that this marks the first time that a team-up with a public sector will net Microsoft profit. The company will get 30 percent of the profits when New York City sells this tech to other cities.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for and

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 Treva Strom NY

Congratulations to Microsoft. I've always respected Microsoft's integrity for respecting people's rights to privacy in technology so although this is testing the boundaries of privacy, I have faith Microsoft will continue to protect what civil rights we have the best they can when they can. This is about our safety and our security. As far as surveillance goes to the degree were facing, I must admit it will be quite futuristic and Big Brother-ish but the "future is coming on" us and there is no stopping it. Unless the whole world agrees to throw away technology at the same time and go back to basics we better get use to it. As long as my bathroom stays private I will be ok with this I have nothing to hide.

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