ACLU Launches New Video Surveillance Tracking Web Site

January 12, 2009 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – As a growing number of American localities turn towards video surveillance systems – often prompted by grants from the Department of Homeland Security – the American Civil Liberties Union today announced the launch of, a new web site dedicated to tracking the spread of government video surveillance systems throughout American cities.

“The new site will provide one-stop shopping for users, including the press, who want to know the big picture and the fine details about the spread of video surveillance systems,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

The new site will serve as an information clearinghouse to track the deployment of government-run surveillance systems across the XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 />United States. It includes a flash map of the United States showing the location of cities that have installed municipal surveillance cameras, a compendium of press clips and other information about camera deployments, links to studies on the effectiveness of surveillance cameras, and other information about the issue.

“Video surveillance is not the path to a safer America and it’s certainly not consistent with our heritage of freedom,” said ACLU Technology and Liberty Program Director Barry Steinhardt. “Study after study has shown that video cameras do not work to control crime. Yet DHS appears to be hell-bent upon pushing police video surveillance into American life – and unfortunately, an increasing number of US cities appear to be taking them up on their offer.”

The site also includes a “take action” section, including a link allowing individuals to send a message to the DHS secretary requesting that the department stop funding local government video surveillance systems.

“Public video surveillance threatens to fundamentally change the nature of our public spaces, and we need to track what is happening,” added Steinhardt. “There are few good sources of information about the spread of video surveillance in the United States – we get regular media requests for such a source – and now we have created it.”

The new web site is at:

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