The new data analysis system New York police department unveiled Monday not only monitors images from surveillance cameras, license plate scanners, and myriad other data streams citywide, in real time, it also has the power to make the NYPD money. The department developed the so called Domain Awareness System in partnership with Microsoft, and every time Microsoft sells a system, NYPD will get 30 percent of the sale, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Wednesday.
The new system doesn't add any new surveillance input, but it makes processing and analyzing the existing data -- including streams from public and private security cameras and sensors, maps, and city records -- way more powerful. "The system allows investigators to instantly see information including arrest records, 911 calls associated with a suspect and related crimes occurring in a particular area, according to the [NYPD] statement," Bloomberg's Chris Dolmetsch and Henry Goldman report. "It also allows investigators to map crimes to reveal patterns and track where a car associated with a suspect is located and has been in the past." Fast Company's Neal Ungerleider live-tweeted the press conference in Manhattan announcing the new system, and shared some of its capabilities: "Real time nypd system identifies exact source of radiation (chemo, meds, industrial... or terrorism) instantly in passing cars," he wrote. And then: "Nypd can instantly bring up deep, granular history on perps/suspects in seconds, geomapped w gis, on new DAS network." The network doesn't use facial recognition software, the city wrote in its privacy guidelines, and it promises to do away with video after 30 days, unless the NYPD archives it for some reason. No wonder BetaBeat's Kelly Faircloth calls it "creepy."