It's less likely the government will be able to tap into private databases anytime soon, but it's still a cause for concern down the line, privacy advocates say. Facebook has the largest facial-recognition database in the world, a potentially rich vein of data for any government agency.
Another worry is the misidentification of suspects. Shipp acknowledges that these systems can make mistakes but says the computers aren't there to take over for humans but to assist investigators by weeding out useless information.
"The cameras themselves are not a panacea. They're not going to solve the problem. It's one of the steps," he said.
But at least one prominent tech blogger thinks the benefits of surveillance cameras outweigh our fears about privacy.
"The idea of submitting to constant monitoring feels wrong, nearly un-American, to most of us. Cameras in the sky are the ultimate manifestation of Big Brother -- way for the government to watch you all the time, everywhere," Farhad Manjoo wrote last week in Slate.
But Manjoo thinks we need to be thinking about ways to make cameras work for us, not reasons to abolish them.
"When you weigh cameras against other security measures, they emerge as the least costly and most effective choice. In the aftermath of 9/11, we've turned most public spaces into fortresses -- now, it's impossible for you to get into tall buildings, airports, many museums, concerts, and even public celebrations without being subjected to pat-downs and metal detectors. When combined with competent law enforcement, surveillance cameras are more effective, less intrusive, less psychologically draining, and much more pleasant than these alternatives."