A San Jose councilman and mayor candidate wants police to be able to remotely tap into private security cameras in an effort to retrieve footage that might help in solving crimes.
Not a week goes by without a story about how governments are spying on their citizens, so a proposal that would allow law enforcement to access private security cameras is deemed to raise some eyebrows.
However, councilman Sam Liccardo doesn’t want to force people to allow the police access to their cameras. Instead, property owners who have security cameras would register their devices into a database of the San Jose Police Department, Mercury News reports.
Over the past years, crime rates have surged in San Jose so those who are currently running for mayor are coming up with all sorts of solutions to address the problem.
Liccardo highlights that footage from personal security cameras is often used by police to identify criminals. Recently, it has been utilized to investigate arson fires.
However, the councilman says that the police have to go door to door to obtain the videos. If his proposal is implemented, police would have a map showing where cameras are located, and officers could remotely access the needed footage.
As far as costs are concerned, Liccardo says they’re not high because existing city employees could maintain the database.
On the other hand, there are some privacy implications that need to be considered.
“To me the really interesting and troublesome part of it is the way we are starting to privatize government surveillance – to enlist private citizens in a way that is kind of unprecedented and could be potentially really dangerous,” the EFF’s Hanni Fakhoury commented.
“Once you give the police unfettered access 24/7, you’re relying on them to exercise their restraint,” Fakhoury added.
Philadelphia, Chicago and some small towns have already implemented such programs.