June 18, 2007
A Big Tower With Cameras Raises Privacy Concerns in Arizona - US News and World Report
C Hues has vowed to moon it. Phil Benoit calls it a "search without probable cause." Jim Chilton has demanded a written statement that the radar won't harm his health-or his cows. That's just a sampling of the reaction this quirky town of 2,500 has had to the surveillance tower the Department of Homeland Security has erected on Tres Bellotas Road on the southern edge of town.
It's part of a "virtual wall" of technology that DHS wants to extend across the entire southern border of Arizona by the end of next year. And Hues, for one, is determined to keep it from happening. "I'm not going to go with this idea that it can't be turned around," she says.
That could be a tall order. The Border Patrol and Boeing Corp., which won a $70 million contract to provide the camera- and radar-equipped towers, have sent representatives to several town meetings. Among their messages: The cameras, one for day and one for nighttime viewing, can't see through glass, and agents will be less invasive if they don't have to traipse out on foot to see what triggered censors.
Still, Ellen Dursema, a 50-year-old artist with the local co-op, says the towers disturb her as a "peacekeeper and an Earth keeper." She's among a group concerned about how radar might affect the migration of bats each year from the nearby ghost town of Ruby.
Posted at 12:58 AM
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