Civic Watch Program in D.C. Raises Privacy Concerns

What expectations for privacy should individuals have in public places? That is the question being posed by a new video surveillance system in D.C. being operated by a neighborhood association, reports Peter Hermann.
September 5, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The Citizens Association of Georgetown is planning on expanding its network of cameras trained to monitor residential streets in the affluent Washington D.C. neighborhood, adding "another dimension to the debate over increased surveillance by the government and others," writes Hermann. While police surveillance via camera is common, and growing, in cities across the world, "the unusual move by a community association to record people's comings and goings is evoking fears of neighbor spying on neighbor."

"The civic group says that it is taking privacy concerns seriously and that its strict guidelines ensure the cameras won't intrude on residents' personal lives. Cameras will be mounted on private property and video can be accessed and turned over to authorities only after a crime has been reported to police."

"But even people comfortable with law enforcement watching the citizenry may be wary that a block captain could play video voyeur with the habits of neighbors."

 

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Published on Friday, August 31, 2012 in The Washington Post
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