The streetlights in San Diego are doing more than illuminating sidewalks.
Around 3,200 cameras and sensors have been installed atop street lights or lamps posts that collect temperature, air pressure and humidity levels. The purpose is to gather information that will be of use to the city and developers for future infrastructure and sustainability projects. Another 250 video-equipped lamps are currently being installed.
“The information will give us great insight into how people move through the urban environment,” said Erik Caldwell, the city’s director of economic development. “This information is critical to planning and making good decisions.”
The city plans to install 4,200 smart sensor nodes on street lights by 2020, Caldwell told the San Diego Union-Tribune. The cameras are equipped with video and audio capabilities and will be used to gather real-time video or video data. The footage will be retained for up to five days and will only be available to police if a crime has been committed in the vicinity. A large concentration of the camera and sensor technology is located downtown.
Caldwell said the video data could help city engineers and software developers solve issues at certain intersections, KNSD-TV reported. The cameras and sensors are not used as a surveillance system, he said.
San Diego resident Emma Hall Bilsback told the news station she fears the city’s good intentions could have bad consequences if it gets into the wrong hands.
“And it's the internet so anyone can just hack into it,” Hall Bilsback said. “At the stage we're in that technology is advancing so quickly, but the laws are not advancing anywhere as quickly.”