Would you register your home surveillance cameras with the local police department?

by DCG

Renton, a city south of Seattle, has asked citizens and businesses to register their surveillance cameras with the police department so they can get access to thousands of private cameras installed throughout the city.

From the MyNorthwest.com story: “It’s called the Camera Registration Program. Since it launched Thursday, more than 40 homeowners and business owners have already signed up.”

I understand citizens wanting to do this – catch the bad guys. Yet I would be hesitant to participate in this program.

The police promise your privacy will not be comprised. More from the MyNorthwest.com story:

“Sgt. Christy Mathews told KIRO 7 the partnership was the idea of the department’s Community Programs Division. According to Mathews, surveillance images are typically obtained by officers and detectives knocking on doors, asking business owners and homeowners if a surveillance camera might have captured a particular incident.

Now, the locations of homes and businesses that register with the Camera Registration Program appear as blue dots on a satellite map of Renton. Mathews said other police agencies have databases of available cameras on printed pages, but not on a computer-generated map. She believes Renton PD’s is the first.

The Camera Registration Program is volunteer-only and does not allow police officers to see images in real time.

It simply lets investigators know a camera is in the area and that its owner is willing to cooperate with police officers. Those officers can then “log in from their cars and see there are three houses in this area, and the suspect fled this way, so maybe these three cameras will show something,” Mathews explained.”


What if for some reason you don’t want to turn over your camera data (i.e., you’re doing something embarrassing or your child may be implicated in a crime; or maybe you are coming back from the gun range and unloading your car and now authorities may inquire about safe gun storage)?

Will the police obtain a warrant and compel your turn over camera data?

As with most things related to government and high tech, I would not trust anyone with my personal data AT ALL.

DCG

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