From the May 2002 Idaho Observer:

Who owns those surveillance cameras?

If you look around -- up on buildings, attached to streetlamp posts, bridges and overpasses and intersections -- you will see cameras everywhere. What you will notice is that some are “fixed position” cameras for traffic control. They are mounted with a u-shaped bracket. Other cameras sit atop a post with a motor. These cameras are for surveillance.

by The Idaho Observer

COEUR D'ALENE -- Our continuing story regarding the erection of a $multi-billion surveillance infrastructure for this month begins at The Idaho Towers at the confluence of Northwest Blvd. and Sherman Ave. in Coeur d'Alene. For about a year a camera has been mounted atop this private apartment complex for retirees.

The camera is contained in a housing that is approximately two-and-a-half feet long and one foot tall. It has pan and tilt capabilities and it has been observed panning and tilting. The size of the housing indicates that the camera could also be equipped with infrared for night vision and an antenna to pick up sounds. It is most definitely hooked up to a modem as a data link.

The apartment manager was contacted. He said that the camera was owned by Q-6 -- a local TV station out of Spokane with a studio in Coeur d'Alene.

Q-6 Chief Engineer Bob Wyatt admitted that the camera was owned by Q-6. He said that its purpose is a “weather cam.” He also said that his station installs additional cameras in various locations as it can afford them.

Indeed, the camera can look directly out onto Lake Coeur d'Alene for a look at the weather. It can also look into downtown Coeur d'Alene, down Northwest Blvd. and into Independence Point Park. The camera has been seen “looking” in all those directions. It has also been seen looking at a group of houses one-third of a mile away. Wyatt admitted that two employees were fired last summer for using the cameras in an inappropriate manner.

The plot thickens

Let us take for granted that cameras capable of surveillance are owned by TV stations. Wyatt insists that none of the cameras they own are mounted at intersections or overpasses.

At various intersections throughout Spokane county and north Idaho there are fixed cameras and cameras capable of pan and tilt. The departments of transportation of both Washington and Idaho claim that their cameras are for traffic control only and are fixed position cameras. They will not claim to have anything to do with pan and tilt cameras -- even the ones that are mounted to posts adjacent to freeways and highways. Local governments contacted thus far will not admit to monitoring pan and tilt cameras that are mounted to utility poles over which they have jurisdiction.

Regardless of the fact that these “surveillance” cameras exist and we can see them panning and tilting from where they are mounted on government utility structures, government entities act as if they know nothing about them.

If you begin to look for cameras on buildings, intersections and utility poles you will see that they have popped up all over the place and are, indeed, everywhere.

The plot thickens again

Vic Bernstein began investigating the placement of surveillance-type cameras in north Idaho and Spokane county in earnest a few weeks ago. What prompted his concern was watching these cameras panning and tilting from a remote operator. Since he began contacting various persons in government and at TV stations, the cameras have stopped moving all of a sudden.

The investigation continues. Look around. The cameras are everywhere.

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