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Cameras in Public Places (fwd)

Forwarded message:

> Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 11:57:22 -0800
> From: Michael Motyka <[email protected]>
> Subject: Cameras in Public Places

[ravage: don't remember who said it... > > ]

> > Privacy is also needed on public places (e.g., violated by face 
> > recognition systems)

Anonymity is not equal to privacy.

> The appropriate way of dealing with them is to wait for some people to
> be misidentified and then file suit against the municipality using the
> equipment. Harassment, false arrest, invasion of privacy, abuse of
> power, loss of reputation, loss of the ability to earn a living - take a
> few of the cities for $10 or $20 million and they'll get the message
> that they've been had by the SW vendors.

It makes no more sense to outlaw cameras in private or public places than it
does to outlaw printing presses in some areas, a very basic way they're
identical from the perspective of the law - it isn't the media that matters
(with little respect to Marshall). What matters is they record some
'instance' and allow it to be distributed widely.

What we do need is a mechanism that prohibits the police or other law
enforcement bodies from access without a properly served warrant. Camera use
in say a mall is permissible because it's the vendors who pay the rent who
are deciding what is and isn't safe - not the customers of those vendors.
It's permissible in traffic control and such because it is cost effective in
those applications. In traffic control, if a motorist stalls or a wreck
occurs the civilian (ie non-LEA) operators can call the necessary resources
into play. Once the cop is on the scene a warrant could be issued if charges
of some sort are filed. Ulitimately, what we need is a law that says:

All law enforcement personnel are prohibited from accessing public or
private documents in the course of their duties without a properly served
and executed warrant.

The two key points are 'public and private' and 'course of their duties'. A
cop should be able to walk into a public library and get a book on some
subject of interest (even law enforcement). But if it's related to the
LEA's cases then a warrant should be required to step foot in the building.
Now if he's a beat cop walking his patrol he obviously can't stop chasing a
perp on the run who traverses the library (though it is highly unlikely they
would stop to read, but imagine a dope deal just as well).

Now, one way to deal with that is to insert some sort of phrase about
'openly accessible' or 'anonymously accessible' (that way the question
becomes does one need an ID, if so then you need a warrant).

       To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice.


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