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Big Brother 2.0

Posted on Mar 13, 2009
Border Patrolling

A screen capture from one of the cameras at The images from the system provide little detail for users to discriminate between criminal and noncriminal activity.

A xenophobic Web site funded by a Texas government grant provides 15 live feeds of “high-crime areas” near the fence between U.S. and Mexico, urging people to go on “virtual stakeouts” from their computers and report “suspicious activity” to authorities.

These “virtual stakeouts” frame any activity on the border as criminal, as the low-quality video provides no way of discriminating between legal and illegal activity.


When her baby girl takes an afternoon nap, or on those nights when she just can’t sleep, Sarah Andrews, 32, tosses off her identity as a suburban stay-at-home mom and becomes something more exotic: a “virtual deputy” patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border.

From her house in a suburb of Rochester, New York, Andrews spends at least four hours a day watching a site called

When Andrews spots something she deems suspicious—perhaps a fuzzy character moving from right to left across the screen or people wading through the river with what appear to be trash bags atop their heads—she and the site’s 43,000 registered users can send e-mail messages straight to local law enforcement, who then decide whether to act.

The video site’s supporters see the 15-camera project as a stride forward in U.S. efforts to halt illegal immigration, drug smuggling and border violence. Run by the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition, an association of 20 sheriffs from border counties, the project seeks to spread responsibility for the border’s security across the nation’s masses of Internet users.

About 20 million people have clicked on since it launched November 20, and the Web site has gained national attention at a time when many eyes already were focused on the southern border of the United States.

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By Maitreya, March 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Please watch this film:

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By JFoster2k, March 16, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Monitoring our borders is not xenophobic. It’s prudent. We are not shutting down the borders or disallowing immigration. We just need international travel done the right way.

I agree with AVM on the legalization of cannabis. Drug traffic is a huge part of the illegal crossings and a cause of much of the border violence. Not only would legalization cut down the traffic, with proper regulation and taxation we would also add billions to the state and federal coffers.

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By Anarcissie, March 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Who’s watching the people watching the cameras?

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By Volma, March 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

This is a great idea, has great potential…We could put camera’s up everywhere and put them on the internet, citizen watchers could report to the citizen local groups to stop stun or otherwise subdue anyone who may look like they are up to no good…We could actually install camera in all homes and watch each other…Hey I think it would give some people a reason to live, and keep them busy…this is Billy Bob’s and all church ladies dream volunteer job….COOL! And you could prove how patriotic you are, get the kids involved have a Youth Movement to spy on mom and dad, that would really keep us in line…God Bless America…Yeee Haaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By AWM, March 13, 2009 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

Total waste of resources It would only take two actions to dramatically improve the situation on your southern border.

1)Start giving serious jail time to the bosses and ceos whose companies are caught with illegals in their employ
also compel the company pay all the costs of repatriation of the illegal and of course the boss’s incarceration

2)legalize cannabis possession and allow individuals to grow their own supply
Plus tax the s%%t out of it

not only would this work but would save money

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By P. T., March 13, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

I don’t know of any countries that have open borders.  Nothing but xenophobes everywhere you go.  wink

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