“Gunshot detectors” in classrooms surpass Big Brother in 1984 and the real East German Stasi

Source: Kit Daniels
In a stinging similarity to the telescreens of 1984, schoolchildren will soon be monitored in real-time through surveillance sensors mounted inside the classrooms of a charter school in Oakland, California.

A typical classroom in the United States.  Credit:  LizMarie_AK via Flickr

What a typical elementary school classroom looks like in America. Credit: LizMarie_AK via Flickr

SST, Inc., a Bay Area technology firm, is currently installing its ShotSpotter “gunshot detector” system inside the school, which will allow the company’s employees to observe the classrooms through multiple computer screens, according to SF Gate.

“People who are in a position to know that it’s a real gunshot aren’t thinking about calling 911,” SST CEO Ralph Clark told the San Jose Mercury News. “They’re thinking about running for cover, hiding themselves.”

“The people who aren’t directly in harm’s way really don’t know whether it’s a gunshot or not.”

Yet as we reported back in August, these “gunshot detectors” are fully capable of recording conversations and are reportedly better at doing so than actually detecting gunshots.

One such detector recorded a street argument in New Bedford, Mass. which was later connected to a criminal trial and the local district attorney, Sam Sutter, thought the warrantless recording would be admissible in court.

“In my view legally,” Sutter said to the New York Times, “what is said and picked up by the ShotSpotter recording does not have the expectation of privacy because it’s said out in public, and so I think that will turn out to be admissible evidence.”

When it comes to their stated task of detecting gunshots, however, these surveillance systems have trouble identifying them from other loud noises, according to the ACLU.

So far, these “gunshot detectors” have been predominately used outdoors, namely on top of street lights and buildings.

Yet SST is now pushing to have its detectors installed inside airports, malls and additional schools across America in what will likely result as the next explosive phase of domestic surveillance.

“Expanding the use of ShotSpotter technology to include school campuses could carry the cost of jeopardizing … our privacy rights,” Jory Steele, managing attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, told the San Jose Mercury News.

Washington, D.C. in particular is already blanketed with at least 300 “gunshot detectors” across 20 square miles of the city, which can easily triangulate and analyze audio.

Other sophisticated spy technologies are also being used across America.

The Las Vegas Public Works Department is currently installing street lights in the city that can record conversations in both audio and video, as reported by Mikael Thalen.

Illumination Concepts, the company responsible for these Intellistreet Lights, bragged about the “Homeland Security” applications of its products, including “voice stress analyzers” which can upload recorded conversations to a central data hub.

In Seattle, white boxes attached to utility poles can effectively track the city’s entire population by recording the last 1,000 known GPS locations of all cell phones within the city, even if they are not connected to a wi-fi network.

Yesterday we revealed leaked documents showing how the public’s personal information harvested by the white boxes are being funneled into a massive intelligence database for perpetuity.

It is now clear that 1984 was accurate in predicting the rise of the domestic spy grid but not its tremendous extent as the gradual extinction of privacy forges ahead.