San Francisco PD seeking access to private security cameras

Surveillance State

SAN FRANCISCO (NewsNation) — A new ordinance under consideration in San Francisco could allow people to tap thousands of private security cameras on residential and commercial property.

San Francisco police say it could help fight crime while the department is short-staffed. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other privacy advocates are saying absolutely not.

Albert Fox Cahn of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project believes private camera footage should remain private.

“A society where I can’t go to a house of worship, where I can’t go to a political protest or I can’t go to a health care facility without constantly wondering who is watching and who they can give that recording to, that’s not a democracy; that’s not an open society,” he said.

Police say it would not be blanket authorization to take over private systems, and live footage would be sought only during specific police operations arranged with prior approval.

On Tuesday, in Houston, a new ordinance is requiring surveillance cameras at all bars and nightclubs. Owners must comply with video requests from police within 72 hours.

A San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee is expected to consider the surveillance proposal further on July 26.

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