Monday, July 14, 2008

NYPD Helicopter Views Faces from Miles Away

Wired Blog Network

An ubertech "verti-bird," as Fox News is calling it, is flying over the skies of Manhattan allowing police to see and recognize a face from two miles away, peer inside a building from three to four miles away, and track a suspect car from 12 miles away.

The story came out a week ago, but Fox News now has video inside the copter. The $10 million vehicle was designed by Bell Helicopter and has infrared night-vision and GPS navigation that allows police to zoom in on a location by typing in an address. Live footage captured by the helicopter's cameras can be transmitted to a police command center or to handheld devices on the ground.

Police used it in a recent gun situation to determine that a man holed up inside his car had killed himself, making it safe for authorities on the ground to approach the vehicle.

Police insist they're only using the helicopter for legitimate law enforcement purposes in public places and would never peer inside someone's home, but privacy activists have concerns.