Cameras attached to traffic lights to catch drivers running red lights will now probably serve another function. You have been watched for a long time and did not even know it. According to, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has spent over one billion dollars for a new facial recognition system and by 2014, these cameras will be all over the nation to monitor potential criminal activity.

Many are saying that this will be the ending of privacy, that the government can now find every person that believed in the conspiracy of the government and watch our every move, while others believe this could lead the nation into becoming a safer place to live in.

Christian Jimenez, 18 is a global history major from John Jay College of Criminal Justice located in Manhattan, was not aware of the FBI placing cameras around the city and believes that putting cameras around the city will not prevent crime from happening.

“The system could go wrong and people could be arrested by the FBI multiple times if they appear to look similar to the suspect being tracked down.” Jimenez said adding, “In a sense I would feel safer, but I rather sacrifice my safety over my privacy. I do not want to know that there are cameras watching my every move. I might feel a little self conscience of my every action and it will change my behavior.”

According to the technology website the Federal Bureau of Investigation has pilot tested the facial recognition system for months. Both media organizations believe that detectives will soon be able to search the system for DNA records and iris scans. The system works in two ways: it can compare an image to the FBI’s database of mug shots, and it can also track suspects by honing in on their faces in a crowd. This could result in more positive identifications of criminals and fewer unsolved cases.

Sergio Bautista, 20, an accounting major at York College, was not aware of the FBI’s facial recognition program. He believes that this is a waste of money and that the government should be spending this money towards other things like education and helping poor communities in the United States.

“The FBI doing this is a little unsafe because their database could end up being hacked and someone will collect information on us. I would feel safer with them putting this into effect being able to track down criminals but a lot of people would invade my privacy so I’m sure it’s not a win win, it’s more of a 50/50 on this system,” Bautista said.

According to, the Metropolitan Transportation Agency has activated over five hundred and seven security cameras that are now providing live feeds to the NYPD’s Command Center from three key transit hubs – Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and Times Square. Those are very popular areas that would be targeted by terrorists.

“This is one more step in finally putting the proper focus on technology at the MTA. For too long, the MTA has failed to deliver on key technology projects, but you can see that changing all across our system,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder said in press release statement.

Manhattan’s 14th St. – Union Square and 8th Avenue on the L train line have been upgraded not only with security in general but also with underground Wi-Fi, according to MTA officials.

Ada’gabriella Peralta, 19, is an English major from John Jay College of Criminal Justice is unsure about what to think about the FBI’s new facial recognition system.

“Although it sounds like a great process for catching criminals faster. I feel like my privacy is violated since people I don’t even know have all this information on me,” Peralta said.

Meanwhile John Jay student Clark Orellana, 22, a criminal justice major, believes the new program would deter crimes from happening. He is glad the money is being put to good use and that FBI placed cameras could save lives.

“I do not have anything to hide although people will argue Fourth Amendment right to privacy,” Orellana said adding, “I say if you have nothing to hide, what do you have to lose? This would definitely make a difference and you cannot have privacy in a public setting, therefore privacy rights aren’t guaranteed. Our rights are limited – that’s what we all need to understand!”

Security in New York City has finally stepped up to a whole new level with the Facial Recognition System but what will this mean for NYPD and police officers in other states? Will they patrol the streets less or more because of the new improvements to security in America? As technology advances, the future holds more problems for Americans to embrace.