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A couple months back, the government of Argentina decided to stop using a country-wide network of digital surveillance cameras that had been installed to catch shoplifting and other serious crimes around its capital city.
The system, which was developed as part of the country’s economic reforms, had been deployed as a method for catching shoplifters — but the technology that it is supposed to capture on film didn’t work any more.
Instead, the government opted for another tactic, using a smartphone app instead.
The app, made by San Francisco-based security firm Seculert, can be set to automatically capture live video from the cameras, using a special “dumb” camera (with a big camera) that’s supposed to work best at night. A camera can be set up either inside a store or a cafe, and the app can also be used to record footage for recording purposes, or even to send the footage to law enforcement authorities in the case someone uses the device for unauthorized activities.
For the record, the camera itself hasn’t been a problem for retailers in Buenos Aires, where local stores have been using the devices for a couple of years; however, they’ve gotten into a number of scuffles with protestors or other groups, including the opposition party and the opposition youth wing.
And the latest incident comes just one month after protesters staged a demonstration outside a Buenos Aires department store in which two women were assaulted by angry shoppers — one with her top down, and the other with her hand on top of her crotch, while the rest of the women surrounded the store and attempted to pull them off. The women later blamed the women protesters by claiming they were also assaulted. The women had to be hospitalized in a police facility, where they were later released.
There’s no indication yet of how the app may have been used in the latest confrontation, but, as you may have noticed in the photo above, it wasn’t an unusual sight. Many of the stores where the app was deployed have become a hotspot for street protests, often leading to lengthy and violent confrontations between police and protesters — with authorities using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds.
The photo above — taken by the security firm — shows the app in action as it captures photos of protestors and shows them to authorities. At first glance, things appear peaceful, but
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