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Is Big Brother watching you?

Is Big Brother watching you?

Abu Dhabi is investing $9 million to install surveillance equipment across the city. But from privacy issues to money matters, many analysts argue that CCTV is not the best solution to enhance security.

March 3, 2010 1:31 by

Abu Dhabi’s Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA) announced on Tuesday that it has awarded contracts valued at more than AED44 million ($12.2 million) to surveillance equipment agencies in order to improve the city’s security.

Late last month, CNIA signed an AED33 million ($9.1 million) deal with US-based ICx Technologies, according to which the latter will provide mobile integrated surveillance systems to be installed around the UAE capital.

This will include ground-based radar and thermal/CCTV imaging systems that will be deployed around “critical infrastructure sites,” according to ICx. “The systems will detect, track and identify threats long before the perimeter is crossed, providing security officials with decision support and increased response time,” the company said in a press release.

Installation of the systems will start in April and the whole project is expected to take eight months, CNIA officials said at the International Security National Resilience (ISNR) Conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Apart from the deal with ICx, the CNIA has also awarded an AED4.5 million contract to the International Golden Group for thermal observation cameras, which will be installed along the coastline. The body also signed an AED6.7 million contract with Al Otaiba enterprises for the manufacture and delivery of high-security ID cards for its staff.

“Threats to security may come from anywhere at any time… we cannot be certain. But we have to be prepared to deal with any situation,” Staff Colonel Ishaq al-Beshir, director of Operations at CNIA, said at the conference. “These deals were made to ensure that we are covering the whole area and that we are able to identify a threat before it occurs.”

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