ICE and the DEA have placed covert surveillance cameras inside street lights around the country. According to federal contracting documents, the DEA paid a company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments $22,000 for “video recording and reproducing equipment.” ICE paid $28,000 to the same company for the same period of time.
ICE offices across Texas have provided funding for covert cameras to be installed; the DEA’s most recent purchases were funded by the agency’s Office of Investigative Technology.
The DEA recently announced plans for a new contract for concealed surveillance technology with Obsidian Integration LLC, an Oregon company with a sizable number of federal law enforcement customers. The Jersey City Police Department recently awarded a contract for “the purchase and delivery of a covert pole camera” from the same Oregon company.
In addition to street lights, the DEA has also placed covert surveillance technology in traffic control devices and speed-display road signs with covert license plate reader technology.
The DEA can turn every street light into a surveillance device, and in most jurisdictions, local police and public works departments make these decisions in secret. There’s no public debate or oversight.
The impact of these technologies is only increasing as facial recognition technology becomes more and more commonplace.