DHS Recommends New Privacy Assessments On Video Surveillance From Grantees

December 8, 2009 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – In a move to create stricter privacy guidelines, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the latest version of its grant application today that includes new requirements for video surveillance. It will now be recommended that applicants for DHS grant money perform privacy assessments if grant money is to be used to purchase, install or support cameras. The American Civil Liberties Union praised the new requirement as the first step in pushing back on the proliferation of unchecked video surveillance.

The following can be attributed to Christopher Calabrese, ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“Pervasive video surveillance is, by definition, a threat to privacy. Government-run video surveillance has the potential to radically alter the relationship between the government and the public, and DHS grant money is behind many camera installations across the country. Privacy assessments have never been part of the grant process. With this change, DHS has begun to set a new standard and hold applicants accountable for their use of video surveillance. This is an encouraging step and we urge DHS to make this requirement mandatory in next year’s grant guidance.”

To learn more about the ACLU’s work on curbing the use of surveillance cameras, go to: www.youarebeingwatched.us

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