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Will they be watching you? D.C. plants to replace 75,000 street lights

A plan to replace the District’s 75,000 street lights is prompting privacy concerns over the kind of technology being used and questions about capabilities to spy on residents.

In a joint program between the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Office of Public-Private Partnerships or OP3, both agencies say the smart street light technology being eyed does not include plans for surveillance devices.

The agencies are collecting information from 11 possible bidders for the contract to install and maintain the new street lights.

Kathryn Roos, interim director of OP3, reassured residents that surveillance was not being considered at a public meeting about the street lights in Anacostia Wednesday night.

Yet companies marketing the technology to cities across the nation, like GE, emphasize in materials online with recording devices such as surveillance cameras and tools to monitor for gunshots.