A map and dataset of 2,753 cameras owned by private and public operators in San Francisco was published last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The vast majority—2,406 never-blinking lenses—are private, or nominally private, cameras installed by private businesses, individuals, and associations.

They’ve been installed to deter crime and to help police catch criminals after the fact. It’s a peek into the complicated world of the modern surveillance state, which is largely driven by good intentions, private fears, and innovative entrepreneurs vying for government contracts.

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