Sep 122009
 September 12, 2009  Posted by  Business, Surveillance

Peter Hermann reports:

Soon, when you belly up to the bar at Shirley’s Honey Hole on East Oliver Street, police will know when you’ve had your first, second and even third beer. From three miles away at the Citiwatch command center on Howard Street, they will be able to watch you buy a drink for the woman on the corner stool, stumble to the bathroom and challenge someone to a brawl.

As part of a settlement to keep police from padlocking her establishment as a “public nuisance” linked to drug dealing and violence, the owner agreed Tuesday to install surveillance cameras not only outside but also inside her bar, complete with a live video feed to police.

Read more in The Baltimore Sun. Melissa Ngo provides her own commentary on this on Privacy Lives.

On some level, this use of cameras in businesses strikes me as no different than stores that warn customers that they are under store surveillance, but there are significant differences: (1) in this case, the customers are being surveilled by police and not store personnel, and (2) there’s a level of concern that government could use the “nuisance law” or other laws to extract agreement from businesses to become part of a government surveillance network.

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