By the end of this year, police officials say, more than 100 cameras will have begun monitoring cars moving through Lower Manhattan, the beginning phase of a London-style surveillance system that would be the first in the United States.
The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, as the plan is called, will resemble London’s so-called Ring of Steel, an extensive web of cameras and roadblocks designed to detect, track and deter terrorists. British officials said images captured by the cameras helped track suspects after the London subway bombings in 2005 and the car bomb plots last month.
If the program is fully financed, it will include not only license plate readers but also 3,000 public and private security cameras below Canal Street, as well as a center staffed by the police and private security officers, and movable roadblocks.
New York Plans Surveillance Veil for Downtown (New York Times, 9 July 2007)
Science-fiction author David Brin has some very interesting ideas on topics like this.