ACLU takes on surveillance cameras in Charlotte - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

ACLU takes on surveillance cameras in Charlotte

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The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina has some questions about the data collected from the 600 surveillance cameras, and other public safety technology in the Charlotte area.

"This is a new issue for us in Charlotte and in the state of North Carolina" says Dick Hester of the ACLU Charlotte. "This kind of issue because the technology - surveillance technology - is expanding exponentially." 

The ACLU is hosting a panel discussion next week called "The State of Surveillance."

Hester says "The ACLU is not taking a position that we shouldn't have these measures - they're needed. Our concern is having a balance between these security measures and protecting the privacy - the constitutionally guaranteed rights of people."

Hester says public safety technology - from cameras to license plate readers - is "high on the list of their local concerns."

Hester says the panel discussion will explore questions about what happens to the data after collected.

"How is it being used? What is it being used for? Is it being used in ways that might impair our right to privacy?" says Hester.

The attorney for CMPD says the public needs to know " there is nothing to be afraid about  - the cameras."

Mark Newbold, who will be one of the panelist during the State of Surveillance says, "the department {CMPD} has in place policies that the data is not retained forever. For example most of the cameras we use downtown - the data is retained for 10 days."

Newbold says unless a particular part is needed for a criminal investigation or other police matters, information from cameras and license plate readers is scrubbed and recorded over.

Newbold is hoping the panel discussion covers a couple of issues.

"I'm hoping we address issues of retention. I'm hoping we address issues of how we use public safety technology - 1st amendment activity" Newbold says.

The panel discussion is scheduled for Thursday May 30th at 7p at The Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte on North Sharon Amity Road.

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