Across the City of San Diego, more than 3,000 City IQ nodes equipped with cameras and sensors have been installed to collect data that the City or developers can use for future infrastructure and sustainability projects.
“The information will give us great insight into how people move through the urban environment,” said Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Erik Caldwell of the Smart and Sustainable Communities Branch. “This information is critical to planning and making good decisions.”
The cameras are located on top of street lights or inside lamp posts. The sensors can count cars and people, and can also keep track of the climate while the cameras record public property.
“For developers to be able to gain that information and track us and our every move kind of freaks me out,” said San Diego resident Emma Hall Bilsback.
Caldwell said the video and data can help city engineers and even software developers work to solve problems at certain intersections.
“I think it's a great idea, especially if there was an accident or something then at least they’d have something,” said North Park resident Pat Snovel. “I don't think at all it be any invasion of privacy whatsoever.”
Caldwell insists this is not a surveillance system. No one is sitting or watching the video in real time.
The video is only made available to police and it is not stored permanently, it only lasts for five days before it is erased.
Some residents are happy to see these cameras and say this is what will help police solve crimes and bring justice for victims.
“For me it’s about my safety,” said Rina Guansing. “The protection is for everybody.”
The cameras also have an audio feature, but Caldwell said it's not currently being used. Another 1,200 cameras and sensors are expected to be installed by next year.
Residents like HallBilsback worry that these good intentions can get into the wrong hands.
“And it's the internet so anyone can just hack into it,” said HallBilsback. “At the stage we're in that technology is advancing so quickly, but the laws are not advancing anywhere as quickly.”