Police Cameras Outside Your Door

The ACLU of Michigan recently put out an interesting report on surveillance cameras. Like other ACLU reports on cameras (such as those by our affiliates in Illinois and Northern California, and the materials on our national site) it summarizes the policy arguments against cameras. But it also focuses on a uniquely disturbing application of surveillance cameras: their deployment in residential neighborhoods.

In the picture-worth-a-thousand-words department, take a close look at this photograph that is included in the report:

Would you want to live there? And be subject to police monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week? I suspect most people would not like it if a live police officer were stationed on the sidewalk in front of their house, photographing their comings and goings at all hours. This is little different. As the report notes,

Today’s surveillance units in residential Lansing not only provide a 360-degree view of the area up to 500 feet, but also have zoom capabilities. Each day, the cameras engage in 24-hour viewing and imaging of the surrounding area utilizing high-definition color, night vision, and focus features that resolve minute detail in even the most severe environmental conditions. This means that the Lansing cameras give police the ability to read words on a piece of paper in someone’s hand within 50 feet, clearly discern a license plate that is 300 feet away, or recognize a face at 400 feet. Although the cameras are not monitored 24 hours a day, everything viewed by the cameras is digitally recorded and stored on hard drives for two weeks or more

There are limits placed on surveillance of private areas, but they are not adequate:

“Privacy zones”—defined by the LPD as windows of homes and other “non-public areas”—are not recorded. Still, while most private windows have been blocked from viewing, many front stoops and fenced backyards were only blocked after the ACLU’s recommendation to do so.

I spoke with Rena Elmir of the ACLU of Michigan and she told me,

The police feel that they’ve included sufficient safeguards by including that feature. Still, if you have a mailbox that’s at the end of your property line, the idea that a police officer could see whom you’re getting mail from using the zoom ability of the camera is worrisome. And just as easily as you can blur those areas, such as windows, you can disable that feature. The idea that this could be misused by police—even if it’s just one person, one bad apple—is pretty scary.

The ACLU of Michigan also had an independent researcher look at the impact of the cameras on the minority population. Comparing the representation of black residents to white residents, the study concluded that African Americans were twice as likely to be under camera surveillance as white residents. Concludes the report:

The disproportionate monitoring of people of color actually exacerbates the conditions that facilitate anger and resentment of law enforcement. In a society where many African Americans already feel profiled, installing surveillance cameras in their communities to constantly monitor their behavior only serves to heighten their sense of powerlessness and to foster mistrust of government officials…. One resident in an affected neighborhood expressed fear that when his grandson practices basketball on his driveway, the stranger on the other side of the camera would be silently judging him according to his own prejudices and stereotypes…. The installation of cameras has elicited negative responses from some African American residents, many of whom feel they are being viewed with suspicion as potential criminals. Their sentiments have been reflected in studies verifying that racial minorities are frequently targeted by camera operators in other communities “with a relish that impl[ies] a deep prejudice.”

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Telluselle

My personal opinion on surveillance as someone who has been a detained immigrant for a year without criminal charge, it is a matter of Intention, Integrity and Interpretation by those who operates the devices. I doubt that just protesting against cameras or have them taken down will work, but rather work on educating the law enforcement agencies. I learned that it only is required four (!) months of training to become an ICE-officer with any bachelor. To become a Correction ofgicer at a prison all you need is a high school diploma and training on the job, perhaps by officers who are corrupt stalkers or the like making up scenarios and stories without looking into facts properly etc. So, advocate a proper ethical and practical mandatory education with teachers outside the force. More here: http://underthewingsoffreedom.blogspot.com
Aloha,
/Alexandra

Telluselle

My personal opinion is that it is a matter of Intention, Integrity and Interpretation. What needs to be developed is a better education for lawenforcement workers. I learned thru 11 months of being a detained immigrant without crime, that ICE-officers only need 4 months (!) of training coming from any college degree and Correction Officers only need a high school diploma and get trained on the job by their peers. How about advocating a more thorough professional training mandatory with real experts both practical and ethical?
/Alexandra Telluselle
PS. I write a blog called Under the Wings of Freedom about my experience as a detsined immigrant. DS.

Anonymous

This crap jew government cameras are good shooting practice targets , HI TECH !!!

Anonymous

The reason more coloreds are under surveillance than non-coloreds is that more coloreds do violent crime than non-coloreds. They are a small percentage of the US populalation but do most of violent crimes in the percentage. Ever lived in Chicago, Detroit, or New Orleans?

Police cameras ...

www.bc-freedom.com
Find the smart meter privacy video, and the energy harvesting link this will tell you what you need to know, cameras are not required anymore

Anonymous

Real simple, aim a SUPER bright spot light or laser at that side of the camera.

Joe Keegan

How about a surveillance camera in your backyard? Three electronic surveillance experts all confirmed the presence of illegal police surveillance devices concealed in the power transformer mounted on the utility pole in the backyard. FL Gov. Scott didn’t reply to my request for the Appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate my charges. FL State Attorney Hess didn’t even acknowledge my complaint or evidence charging Fl law enforcement with illegal surveillance and harassment. So much for any checks and balances to this kind of abuse.
Government Spying

Anonymous

How about a surveillance camera in your backyard? Three electronic surveillance experts all confirmed the presence of illegal police surveillance devices concealed in the power transformer mounted on the utility pole in the backyard. FL Gov. Scott didn’t reply to my request for the Appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate my charges. FL State Attorney Hess didn’t even acknowledge my complaint or evidence charging Fl law enforcement with illegal surveillance and harassment.
Government Spying

Joe Keegan

How about a surveillance camera in your backyard? Three electronic surveillance experts all confirmed the presence of illegal police surveillance devices concealed in the power transformer mounted on the utility pole in the backyard. FL Gov. Scott didn’t reply to my request for the Appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate my charges. FL State Attorney Hess didn’t even acknowledge my complaint or evidence charging Fl law enforcement with illegal surveillance and harassment.
Joe Keegan Bonifay Fl

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