Residents Push Back Against SMART City Technology in San Diego

This article originally appeared on Leo Hohmann’s Substack and was republished with permission.

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Creator: Ellen Stockmar

Are you aware that many cities, even some smaller to medium-sized ones, are installing cameras, speakers and license-plate readers on street-light poles and other barely noticed but ubiquitous locations?

The outfitting of America’s cities with 5G technology, which took place largely with federal funding appropriated under the Trump administration, set the stage for our cities to be converted into “smart cities.” That’s a cleverly deceptive term for “surveillance cities,” in which no human activity takes place outside the watchful eye of Big Brother. Because these cameras, speakers, facial-recognition scanners, etc., are all connected and available for monitoring online, some have referred to 5G smart-grid technology as the “Internet of Eyes.”

Fox 5 San Diego reports that the debate over “smart surveillance streetlights” and license-plate readers in San Diego is heating up again. Residents there aren’t buying the arguments put forth by police and politicians as to why they need an internet-connected camera on ever street corner.

The San Diego Police Department’s proposal would make San Diego the largest city to use street lights with license-plate readers and cameras.

But the City of San Diego’s Privacy Advisory Board voted unanimously last Thursday night to send to City Council the Option 2 plan, which rejects San Diego PD’s proposal, according to Seth Hall with the Trust San Diego coalition.

Some citizens have voiced concerns to the city council, saying they are worried about privacy.

In Case You Missed It:  Fifteenth Anniversary of The Conservative Papers

“Put the cameras away. Who watches who?” a community member said at the meeting, as reported by Fox 5.

Community members expressed their opposition to more surveillance technology hitting the streets of San Diego.

“Our biggest concern is this money should be going to our communities not towards cameras and surveillance,” said Stacey Uy with Asian Solidarity Collective. “We all know it’s not cameras that keep us safe. It’s youth drop-in centers. It’s community health centers. It’s mental health services. We need so much more than just cameras.”

Smart streetlights have been installed throughout the city but are not currently in use, according to Fox 5. The city cut access to 3,000 of them back in 2020 after public outcry over privacy concerns.

“There are numerous problems with smart streetlights and how it disproportionally impacts those of us in communities of color. I can speak to it directly — where I live, for example, I can not leave my house without having to pass by a smart street light,” said another community member at the meeting.

But SDPD is requesting to reactivate 500 smart streetlights that capture images and data in the city for police investigations. Police also want to add automated license plate readers for investigative purposes.

“There was a shooting over the weekend in Liberty Station and so the district attorney’s office wrote a warrant to compel us to produce eight smart streetlights. I’ll refer to them as the generation one streetlights in support of an investigation of that homicide,” said Lt. Charles Lara with the San Diego Police Department.

In Case You Missed It:  Fifteenth Anniversary of The Conservative Papers

I have a question for Lt. Lara. What good are cameras when we have Soros-funded prosecutors in most Democrat-run cities who are not fully prosecuting crimes committed by violent felons? Perhaps that isn’t the real reason for the cameras after all?

I posted a more in-depth article at about how facial-recognition scanners and digital IDs are being rolled out at major airports in the U.S. Most people will walk blindly into this dystopian digital surveillance society. Please share this article and the one at with your friends and family.

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