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NYPD to launch city-wide surveillance to track criminals, terrorists

NYPD has developed a "Domain Awareness System" with Microsoft to monitor crime in the city.

Surveillance cameras nycEnlarge
NYPD is planning to install city-wide surveillance cameras to monitor criminals and terrorists as part of a Domain Awareness System. (Matt Cardy/AFP/Getty Images)

The NYPD (New York Police Department) has developed a city-wide surveillance system to help officials monitor criminals and terrorists. 

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly first announced that the city was developing the software with Microsoft back in July at the Aspen Security forum, the Associated Press reported.

The NYPD is expected to formally announce the software at a press conference Wednesday. 

The "Domain Awareness System" or DAS, will include a network of cameras located throughout New York's the five boroughs, Fast Company reported

The cameras will be able to scan license plates and pull information on criminal and terrorism suspects from dozens of criminal databases in "near-real time," according to Fast Company. 

According to publicly available documents about the new DAS system, the NYPD is allowed to use this kind of monitoring system under Chapter 18 of New York City's Charter, which gives the police department complete power to "preserve the public peace, prevent crime, and detect and arrest offenders." 

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Though the documents state that the software is intended to be used for anti-terrorism purposes, it specifies that any incidental data the DAS collects can be used by the NYPD “for a legitimate law enforcement or public safety purpose." 

The NYPD came under scrutiny recently for its collaboration with the CIA to monitor Muslim communities and student groups, and have since been sued by Muslim activist groups, the AP reported.

However, Police Commissioner Kelly defended the DAS and other policies, saying that they are necessary in order to stop the 14 terror plots that have been reported against New York city since Sept. 11th, according to the AP. 

Microsoft has slowly become one of the leading developers and providers of security intelligence technology for police departments and security firms, Fast Company pointed out. 

More from GlobalPost: New Jersey Muslims sue NYPD over spying

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120808/nypd-launch-surveillance-terrorists