ACLU Calls on Law Enforcement to Support Privacy Laws for Public Video Surveillance

April 8, 1999 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — Urging support for privacy laws to limit the use of video surveillance of the public, ACLU Associate Director Barry Steinhardt today served as the contrarian at a “summit meeting” of the Security Industry Association and members of law enforcement.

One purpose of the meeting, conference organizers said, was to review “proposed guidelines on closed circuit television security products monitoring and recording of public areas for safety and security purposes.”

The meeting drew members of the Security Industry Association, which represents manufacturers and dealers of closed circuit television {CCTV} security products, and members of law enforcement, represented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs Association.

“In many ways CCTV is an even more intrusive form of search than an audio wiretap,” Steinhardt told the meeting. “CCTV can be grossly abused by recording intimate and private conduct and marking innocent people for tracking solely on the basis of racial, gender or other characteristics. No other technique can record in such graphic detail personal and private behavior.”

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