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Security Cameras Coming to New York City

New York plans to install a London-style surveillance camera system in lower Manhattan by year's end. Guests outline the reasons behind the program and the privacy issues it raises.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Last month, in the attempted car bomb plots in London and at Glasgow airport, British authorities credited an extensive surveillance system with helping to track the suspects. Just today, four men who tried unsuccessfully to detonate bombs in London's public transit system on July 21, 2005, were sentenced to life in prison. Their moves had been captured on surveillance video.

    Authorities scoured thousands of hours of tape to find clues that led to the arrests.

  • ANDY HAYMAN, Metropolitan Police, London:

    The image that's now showing is of a man at the rear of the top deck on that bus at about 12:00.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Investigators also credited security cameras in helping them track suspects in the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings that killed 52 people.

    Closed-circuit TV cameras are part of an extensive security system in London, called the Ring of Steel. The security and surveillance cordon that encircles London's financial district and historic sights includes narrower roads, road blocks, and at least 400,000 cameras. The average Londoner is said to be captured on camera as many as 300 times a day.

    The Ring of Steel system was originally implemented in 1993 following a series of bombings by the Irish Republican Army. This week, New York City officials unveiled plans to emulate London's surveillance system in lower Manhattan, expanding existing security measures by adding 3,000 public and private security cameras by 2010 and at least 116 license plate readers, like this one already used by police in many U.S. cities. All the images would feed into a surveillance center.

    The plan would include a system to quickly block roads and restrict traffic flow. If fully implemented, lower Manhattan's security boost is estimated to cost $90 million.

    And we look at the proposed surveillance plan and some concerns it's raising with New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly; and George Washington University law professor Jeffrey Rosen, author of "The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age."

    Well, Commissioner Kelly, starting with you, why do you want to do this in New York?