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High-Tech Cameras Watch for Suspicious Behavior at RNC

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Ryan Raiche, WFTS, Reporting, Courtesy CNN

TAMPA, Florida — You might not notice them, but they are bound to notice you.

Dozens of high-tech cameras are up and running in downtown Tampa ready to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity during the Republican National Convention.

Tampa spent more than $2 million installing the cameras that not only watch, but study people, using what’s called behavior recognition software.

“The video analyzes the movement with this specialized computer software and it gives them alarms when certain activities occur as body movement and body language,” said Michael Peros, Owner of Privacy Electronics in Pinellas Park.

Peros has an extensive background of high-end video surveillance and has worked on many projects of national security.

“It’s definitely going to make a safer place for us,” he said.

The maker of the software, BRS Labs shows how the technology works on its web site. In one video, the program spots a man walking in the street carrying a weapon, alerting authorities.

At first the city did not release the location of the cameras, but they’re not exactly hidden from view.

A Tampa web developer took it upon himself to map out the cameras.

“I spent the time to track them because I knew I could efficiently tell other people about them,” Jon Gales said.

Gales lives and works in Tampa and said he sees the cameras everyday. He says he made a web app pointing to all the cameras for the people who are concerned about the notion of big brother watching your every move.

The city hasn’t said what it’s doing with the cameras after the convention.

TPD is OK with Gales’ app and hopes that it actually encourages protestors to behave if they know they’re being watched.

The technology is by no means perfect. Peros says the software is programmed to recognize body language of a westerner, but if the threat comes from another culture, it may not be as reliable.

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