Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guarding the U.S.-Mexico border From Your Computer!

Technology is amazing an it allows us to do things previous generations could not even dream about. For example consider this:

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

There, because of a $2 million grant from the state of Texas, anyone in the world can watch grainy live video scenes of cactuses, desert mountains and the Rio Grande along Texas' portion of the international border.

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.

"Today, there's a couple vehicles that are parked side by side next to each other," she said by phone, her 7-month-old cooing in the background, "but I can't tell what's going on, you know?"

You can read the entire report at this link: Border

When I read the story I knew I had to do some more research and see what I could find. So here it is:

I went to the website and found this:

The Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition (TBSC) has joined BlueServoSM in a public-private partnership to deploy the Virtual Community Watch, an innovative real-time surveillance program designed to empower the public to proactively participate in fighting border crime.

The TBSC BlueServoSM Virtual Community WatchSM is a FREE service consisting of a network of cameras and sensors along the Texas-Mexico border. This network feeds live streaming video FREE-OF-CHARGE to the user's computer, which they can access by creating a FREE account at Users will log in to the BlueServoSM website and directly monitor suspicious criminal activity along the border via this virtual fenceSM.

Citizens can sign up as Virtual Texas DeputiesSM to participate in border surveillance through this social network. Virtual Texas DeputiesSM from around the country will monitor the streaming video from these cameras 24/7 and report any suspicious activities directly to the Border Sheriffs via email. All emails regarding suspicious activity will be submitted anonymously.

The Public, acting as Virtual Texas DeputiesSM, is limited to reporting suspicious activities via email. Local county Sheriffs will respond to these reports, conduct all investigations, and take appropriate actions. This service will provide millions of dollars in benefits to local border Sheriffs, with the public acting as additional pairs of eyes for Deputies on the ground. This extra surveillance will allow the public to directly participate in reducing crime and improving their communities. It is a well-established fact that citizen involvement in community watch programs such as this one reduces crime.

Another facet of this program is the ability of the public to connect their own cameras to to create local Virtual Neighborhood WatchesSM in order to protect their own homes, neighborhoods, and families from criminal acts. These Virtual Neighborhood WatchesSM can, in turn, be connected to form additional Virtual Community WatchesSM.

Membership on site is free and open to anyone by signing up and obtaining a User Log-In. Because is an internet social network, in the future, BlueServoSM anticipates that high volume of traffic to its website will generate advertising revenue to defray the operations cost of the Virtual Community WatchSM to the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition

You can check out their site at this link: BlueServo

Here is a link for the NPR report about the site: A New Way To Patrol The Texas Border: Virtually

Here is a link to another news report:

Let's hunt some immigrants!

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:51 PM   0 comments links to this post


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