Tampa, Florida web developer Jon Gales mapped the city's new network of downtown surveillence cameras installed for the Republican convention, to empower fellow citizens to become aware of the encroaching surveillance society. City authorities have not responded to his queries about what will happen to the cameras once the convention ends.
Gales himself lives in downtown Tampa. It was on his daily walks to work in July when he first noticed the cameras being installed by contractors. He says that the city never had to hold hearings about the installation of the cameras because they are being funded through a $50 million federal grant that the city received to prepare for the convention. That left him wondering what would happen after the convention. Would the cameras stay up? What would happen with the footage? What is the range of the cameras? Could they zoom in to spy on him in his apartment?
Aware Digital was awarded a multi-million dollar contract to install about 90 high-def cameras around the downtown area and a wireless network to connect the cameras. 63 of the cameras have pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ in CCTV lingo) capabilities which means that they can be remotely aimed and the zoom is an impressive 20x optical. 31 fixed point cameras have been installed, mostly to watch the Tampa Police Department and its parking garage. We have concentrated on mapping the cameras meant to watch you.