The police surveillance plane could be back from the dead as an idea to help fight Baltimore crime.
The police surveillance plane could be back from the dead as an idea to help fight Baltimore crime. (USAF / Baltimore Sun)

The Baltimore City Council should not allow surveillance planes to orbit our city (“Baltimore officials pitched on putting three surveillance planes in the sky at once, covering most of city,” Sept. 17). There are an increasing number of technologies that monitor our every actions, often with good intent. The immediate benefits sound great — deter crime, solve cases, exonerate falsely accused. However, this technology and the data it collects is ripe for abuse.

Securing and auditing access to the enormous amount of sensitive data that this project would collect is a monumental task. Data leaks are an all-too-common occurrence because securing data is inherently difficult. The activities of citizens in Baltimore will be of interest to any number of third parties, whether those activities are illegal or not. We should expect third parties will gain access to the data. What will they do with it?

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This project was of dubious value and rightfully decried as a civil liberties red flag years ago. Nothing seems to have changed except the increased scope of the project. This project should be shut down before we start something we can’t take back.

Stephen Higgs, Baltilmore

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