12 November 2014
"We…look forward to a continued partnership with the city of Glasgow…fully utilizing the capabilities that NICE Situator can provide.” Full utilisation will mean that every time you walk through Glasgow City Centre, or take part in a demonstration, CCTV cameras can try to detect your mood and, using facial recognition technology, will cross-check with any social media or police and even medical records while following your every move along Argyle Street. Do we want to live in a city “fully utilising the capabilities that NICE” has developed to crush and dispossess the Palestinian people and carry out “crimes against humanity” according to Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Council?
You don't need to visit Israel, even if you wanted to - Israel has come to the centre of Scotland's biggest city.
The UK Government is paying an Israeli company closely linked to the Israeli military for a powerful surveillance system that is being installed in Glasgow City Centre. According to Glasgow City Council, "a one-stop shop City Dashboard" will monitor, by CCTV and "integration of data...everything from foot and vehicle traffic to council tax collection and hospital waiting lists". There has been no debate in the Council on the need to develop a system of democratically accountable oversight of the uses and of mis-use of technology that takes intrusion to new levels.
Israeli surveillance technology was developed by the Israeli military to enforce an illegal occupation and carry out crimes against humanity in Palestine. NICE Systems uses data from "multiple sources, including phone calls, m, obile apps, emails, chat, social media, video, and transactions".
The full extent of surveillance being carried out by Glasgow City Council remains unclear but NICE Security Group Vice-President Chris Wooten highlighted their "expertise in helping cities around the world manage day-to-day life, as well as large-scale events, from both a security and operational perspective. We...look forward to a continued partnership with the city of Glasgow...fully utilizing the capabilities that NICE Situator can provide."
Full utilisation could mean that every time you walk through Glasgow City Centre, or take part in a demonstration, CCTV cameras can try to detect your mood and, using facial recognition technology, will cross-check with any social media or police and even medical records while following your every move along Argyle Street. There needs to be a public conversation about this potentially dangerous development at a time when US intelligence whistleblower and elected Rector of Glasgow University, Edward Snowden, has alerted the world to the extreme intrusiveness of both US and UK intelligence agencies into everyone's personal and previously private communications.
Giving a breezily upbeat promo for the new surveillance technology that is one lucrative fruit of Israel's brutal occupation of Palestine, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: "We are delighted to welcome this major investment in Glasgow. The University of Strathclyde's Technology and Innovation Centre will host the revolutionary City Observatory. This will allow academic and business and industry researchers to analyse more than 200 information feeds about Glasgow - its health, economy, transport, energy use - to map the relationships between them and to understand how a 21st century city operates."
Do we want to live in a city "fully utilising the capabilities that NICE" has developed to crush and dispossess the Palestinian people and carry out "crimes against humanity" according to Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Council?
The enhanced surveillance system costs millions of pounds, part of a UK Government grant of £24m to Glasgow to deploy new technology, at a time of rising demand for food banks in the city and cuts to basic services.
Soldiers from the same military Unit 8200 that spawned NICE Systems resigned and revealed that the technology is part of a programme of "political persecution" part of "the same job that the intelligence services of every undemocratic regime are doing."
In 2000-01, the FBI identified one NICE employee among a group of Israelis carrying out espionage activities in the US while posing as "art students". US Government agencies have repeatedly criticised aggressive Israeli spying against its main protector - what chance they won't spy in the UK and Glasgow?
This Israeli surveillance system is being piloted in Scotland's biggest city rather than in areas where the Tory Government could lose votes – memories of Thatcher's poll tax being trialled in Scotland first?
At a time of rising poverty, social tensions and deepening popular distrust of UK government authorities, millions are being spent specifically to boost trade with the Apartheid State of Israel while it continues with mass killings and dispossession of the Palestinian people.
Join Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to stop the crimes in Israel/Palestine and the deployment of Israeli Big Brother surveillance systems in Glasgow City Centre.
12 November 2014