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  • Goodyear Independent

    Goodyear police, AI could camera monitor students, car travel


    The Goodyear City Council will sit down with staff on Monday to discuss the details of a crime center that could feed cameras from schools and private retail partners into a real-time camera center monitored by Police.

    Goodyear City Council learned on April 8 during its budget review session that city staff installed a license plate reader system tied to national and FBI databases without their approval. The same day, the city manager and police proposed a plan to implement the plate reading cameras and other open-source internet-based cameras into a real-time crime monitoring center.

    According to an agenda item for the May 13 work session, community partners for a real-time camera center include “schools” and “retailers.”

    Flock’s real-time camera monitoring center, called Wing , allows police to monitor any internet-connected camera volunteered in the system.

    The implementation, while aiming to improve public safety, may also raise legal concerns such as intrusion upon seclusion, prompting a need for careful consideration of privacy rights by an elected body.

    David Farrow, Deputy Chief of Police for Goodyear, said in April that the cameras will automatically access the location data of individuals in their city and other participating Flock cities.

    “As soon as we took on those first 16 cameras, we had access to all of their system information,” he said. “So all of the stuff coming from the different cities and whatnot is readily available to us now. I mean, I could pull up Flock on my phone back there and show you any hits that we've had in the city.”

    According to a Flock report, supplemental real-time cameras or IP cameras connected to the internet and added to the monitoring center could map out and track vehicles in real-time or even use AI to “predict” routes.

    “Thanks to its Vehicle Fingerprint Technology, these cameras can profile vehicles by color, type, roof rack, and even bumper stickers,” a report states . “In addition, they track how often a vehicle passes any camera and can even predict routes. It’s important to note that they do not use facial recognition technology.” White Settlement Police Department (Texas) captures a vehicle on Flock Safety Camera System (White Settlement Police Department)

    The city will also consider implementing drones in the center.

    School-based AI camera predictive crime

    In October, the American Civil Liberties Union examined educational technology surveillance products used in K-12 schools and highlighted a current camera system at some Goodyear or Litchfield-area schools.

    In the Oct. 3 report , the ACLU highlighted Avigilon, among several other products, as an ed-tech product with liberty and privacy concerns. Agua Fria Union High School District was not mentioned in the ACLU report, but approved board documents outline the usage of an Avigilon camera system.

    Avigilon, like IP cameras, can be implemented into Goodyear's Flock-based real-time crime center.

    According to the ACLU, an Avigilon camera or monitoring center can monitor and predict “problematic behavior” in students. Marketed as a tool in combatting school violence, the ACLU claims it falls short of proving effective with any empirical evidence or study.

    “Surveillance camera company Avigilon states that ‘safety for students, staff, and faculty is our top priority.’ The clear insinuation is that its camera products, which its website markets, will provide those things, and it can make such an insinuation without providing proof that it is true,” it wrote.

    The report continues by stating that the camera system watches and analyzes video subjects for problematic or anomalous behaviors from its self-learning, which can lead to a learned bias for populations.

    “This unreliable technology can misinterpret or misunderstand certain student behaviors based on cultural, community, ability, or age differences, which could lead to interventions for behaviors that are neither dangerous nor unlawful,” it wrote. “This has been observed to be a particularly heightened risk for students of color and students with disabilities.”

    According to searches of Valley districts, several districts use the Avigilon cameras or other systems mentioned in the ACLU report.

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