Mar 052019
 March 5, 2019  Posted by  Surveillance, U.S.

Cliff Rieders writes:

…The question is whether there are constitutional issues with respect to municipalities lodging surveillance cameras in public places and recording the movements of those who pass within the field of view of the cameras.


While, from an ethical point of view, the question of video surveillance is certainly worthy of great debate, the legal question is whether the individual who is the subject of surveillance has a reasonable expectation of privacy. If the municipality is observing movements down a public street, park or facility, generally speaking, reasonable people would not believe that their privacy has been invaded. On the other hand, reasonable people do not expect government to monitor whether they are entering a political or union meeting, viewing a controversial movie or art exhibit, visiting a doctor, attending a religious institution, distributing leaflets or meeting with a lawyer. What is being surveilled is the important issue.


As with many matters in the law, the devil is in the details.

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