081308nypdcam.jpgThe NYCLU says the NYPD’s “Operation Sentinel,” which would install permanent license plate scanners at each of the 20 crossings into Manhattan, is an unnecessary invasion of privacy. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly wants to form a security ring around the World Trade Center that would make London’s famed “Ring of Steel” look like a velvet rope guarded by Don Knotts. And besides installing radiation detectors that could spot a dirty bomb, the Daily News reports the NYPD wants an additional 100 license plate scanners below Canal Street.

Naturally, Christopher Dunn at the NYCLU says this is all part of Big Brother’s plan to take away our privacy in the name of keeping us safe. He tells the Daily News, "The NYPD has proposed the blanket, indiscriminate videotaping of millions of people. The NYPD should not be spending $100 million of public money to track law-abiding New Yorkers." But if the NYCLU really wants to stop the surveillance, they should get those millionaire Wachowski brothers in on this, because the NYPD totally stole Operation Sentinel from those invasive tentacle robots in The Matrix.

For more reading fun, check out the NYPD presentation on why this security is needed; the NY Times' Charles Bagli writes, "The proposal threatens to reopen a bitter debate that many had thought was settled four years ago"--the debate over safety vs. trying to make the neighborhood welcoming to tourists and tenants.

Photo courtesy Pro-Zak.