MCLU Supports Ban on New Police Surveillance Technology

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
February 5, 2010 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Testifies in Support of LD 1561


Today, the Maine Civil Liberties Union will lend its backing to an effort to protect the privacy of all the people of Maine. The MCLU will testify in support of LD 1561: An Act to Regulate the Use of Traffic Surveillance Cameras, in a public hearing before the Maine Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation. The hearing is scheduled for 1:00 pm, in Room 126 at the State House.

The following can be attributed to Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union (MCLU):

“Surveillance cameras have a chilling effect on freedom of movement, because people behave differently when they are under surveillance. In a free society, we have a right to be left alone unless we are hurting someone or breaking the law. All people in America are presumed innocent and law-abiding, but these surveillance cameras turns that presumption of innocence on its head – into a presumption that we are all guilty.

“The Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) creates and feeds a database that, very quickly will contain a virtual map of the movement of ordinary citizens about the community. If we hastily adopt this new technology we will find ourselves grappling with significant embarrassments and harms in the future. Just because we can do something doesn’t always mean we should. ALPRs place too much datamining power in the hands of the police and those who breach their system.

“Last year, Maine passed a law banning surveillance cameras at stoplights. We hope that the same principles—that we have the right to be left alone and that the government should not put ordinary citizens under surveillance—will once again guide the legislature’s deliberations.”

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in National Security

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About National Security

National Security issue image

The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.