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Private company with secret aerial surveillance in Baltimore.

111Baltimore-police-secretly-uses-aerial-camera-surveillance-systemThe revelation that a private company has been conducting secret aerial surveillance on behalf of the Baltimore Police Department — collecting and storing footage from city neighborhoods in the process — caused confusion, concern and outrage Wednesday among elected officials and civil liberties advocates.

Some demanded an immediate stop to the program pending a full, public accounting of its capabilities and its use in the city to date, including in the prosecution of criminal defendants. Some called it “astounding” in its ability to intrude on individual privacy rights, and legally questionable in terms of constitutional law.

Others did not fault the program but said it should have been disclosed publicly before it began in January.

The program — in which Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems has for months been testing sophisticated surveillance cameras aboard a small Cessna airplane flying high above the city — was first disclosed Tuesday in an article in Bloomberg Businessweek. The publication was given exclusive access to the company’s testing. Read article here