More surveillance cameras don't make you safer, ACLU says

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Big images below.
In a post last month, we told you about a new website called CommunityCam, which planned to use crowd-sourcing techniques to document and map all the security cameras in public areas throughout Denver and other nearby areas. The site's founder mainly portrayed such surveillance devices as good things -- no surprise, given that his main company sells and markets them. But the ACLU of Boulder's Judd Golden doesn't equate more cameras with more safety and is concerned about other possible infringements on personal privacy as they proliferate.

Golden isn't new to this issue. Back in August, he talked with us about license-plate readers, which he said had the technical capability of allowing authorities to track every driver in Boulder and beyond. So it's no surprise he looked at the CommunityCam concept with a critical eye.

Here's a CommunityCam screen capture of Colorado from our original post.

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Next, take a closer look at Denver metro, with designations for the number of cameras in assorted suburbs, plus Boulder and the city itself:

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Finally, here's a zoom-in of downtown Denver, with icons marking the locations for dozens of cameras, many just steps away from each other:

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In the view of CommunityCam's Josh Daniels, maps like these provide locals with "primarily social benefits -- things like being able to plan safer, monitored routes for jogging, biking and walking. Obviously, Denver has a very active outdoor population of people, and this allows communities like neighborhood watch groups to take an active role in preventing and solving crimes and identifies where video evidence may be found after criminal acts have been committed."

That's not how Golden sees it.

Continue for more of our interview with the ACLU of Boulder's Judd Golden about surveillance cameras.



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17 comments
Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Good lighting is far more effective than cameras, but the cops get off on spying.

Devin SuperRad Rodriguez
Devin SuperRad Rodriguez

Just another way of reducing your liberty and a reminder that they can FUCK with you ANY TIME THEY WANT. As long as you put up with it!

Che Harness
Che Harness

Not safer for me. But if the evidence gets somebody off the street before they can hurt another, they might work. Personally I wouldn't support them until this society stops trying to regulate non-violent personal choice.

Edward Casillas
Edward Casillas

Can the video be used against cops or will evidence get erased or lost? Cannot trust people who install cameras.

Jackie Burhans
Jackie Burhans

Not safer, just better documented. Oh look that's how she died....

Sean Gruno
Sean Gruno

Ignorant people may feel safer...but the reality is that all that these will do is give the police the increased potential to gather evidence, and track people with facial recognition...eventually I'm sure they'll find a way to sell the data in the footage to marketing companies so they can offer you even more individualized offers.

Kristen Marie
Kristen Marie

It's the illusion of safety. Just like the TSA doesn't actually make flights safer. There are people working hard to make sure that the people who plan on doing something bad at the airport, don't even make it to the building.

Blayne McMillan
Blayne McMillan

I don't necessarily feel safer, but I do believe that would-be criminals are deterred by the presence of surveillance cameras.

RustyShackleford
RustyShackleford

Surveillance cameras never were about keeping you safer, but keeping The Man safer...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Blayne McMillan... the proof being that Colfax Ave with a Police HALO camera on nearly every block from Lakewood to Aurora is virtually crime free ...


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident 


Because street crimes are far more common at night. I'm sure if you really had any interest in anything but trolling, you could find references to studies online that validate this. Google is your friend.

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