According to the Business Insider, the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service have requested information to support the installation of a gunshot detection system known as “ShotSpotter” in Washington D.C.
The system is already up and running in various cities and it records more than just gunshots.
A sergeant for the Richmond Police Department told the New York Times in a recent interview that the system enabled him to hear, “doors slamming, birds chirping, cars on the highway, horns honking.”
The systems can also record conversations, which raises questions about the limits of police surveillance. Indeed, one murder case in New Bedford, Massachusetts is expected to hinge on an argument recorded using the technology.
The main supplier of the current system is ShotSpotter, which lists Lockheed Martin and the Ferguson Group as two of its three strategic partners.
Lockheed manufactures many of the unmanned drones currently flying in U.S. airspace. The Ferguson Group “lobbies Congress and the federal agencies on behalf of public and private interests across the country.
The Ferguson Group is the largest federal representative of local governments in Washington, DC.”
DHS wants information on a few issues before making their purchase.
A few of the questions DHS wants to answers are the exact effective range of the system; how easily the sensors can be concealed aesthetically to match their surroundings; can the system be used without use of live fire or blanks; can the system be made portable and will the system detect 95 percent or more of an areas gunshot incidents and can it be monitored by government agencies alone?
SpotShotter says its wide-area acoustic technology can be used to cover areas of up to 20 square miles and has already recorded more than half-a-million incidents.
According to the Business Insider, “This layout Homeland Security is looking for could be very similar ShotSpotter’s regional systems, but DHS wants the ability to monitor its system solely within federal agencies.”
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