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ACLU To Chicago: Stop Adding Surveillance Cameras

February 08, 2011  | 

Photo via ACLU.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a report today calling on Chicago city leaders to stop adding to the network of video surveillance cameras accessible to the police department.

Chicago Police directly control 1,260 cameras, and also have access to more than 4,500 cameras in and around Chicago public schools, 1,800 on CTA buses and in train stations, and at least 1,000 at O'Hare Airport, as well as more cameras at McCormick Place, Navy Pier, and private video systems in the Willis Tower, the John Hancock building and elsewhere, reports WGNTV.

The report, "Chicago's Video Surveillance Cameras: A Pervasive and Unregulated Threat To Our Privacy," was released Tuesday by ACLU of Illinois.

"Given Chicago's history of unlawful political surveillance, including the notorious 'red squad,' it is critical that appropriate controls be put in place to rein in these powerful and pervasive surveillance cameras now available to law enforcement throughout the city," said Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU of Illinois in releasing the report. "Unlike other cities, Chicago has not adopted necessary safeguards. We believe that a new mayor or City Council should order a moratorium on deploying new cameras, evaluate whether to remove some of the current cameras, and adopt appropriate regulations to protect against unwarranted violations of privacy."

View the ACLU's video statement about the report:

Current Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who leaves office in the spring, rejected the report's conclusion, defending the cameras as effective enforcement tools.

"We're not spying on anybody. This is the public way," the Chicago Tribune quotes Daley as saying. "We're not spying on anyone or identifying anyone, or racially profiling anyone. We're not."


Unblinking Eyes

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Bryan @ 2/8/2011 7:25 PM

F##K the ACLU!!! Why worry about being on video out in the public? By being in public, many people can see what you are doing anyway. Who cares if the police have access to maneuver cameras to search for criminal activity, or search for an individual? Don't be a criminal and you won't have anything to worry about.

Rich @ 2/9/2011 4:27 AM

When are we going to stop allowing these name hungry lawyers to dictate to us? They are looking for anything to make a name for themselves at the expense of honest, law abiding citizens. It is time for the courts to impose huge fines on their ludicrous crap.

rick @ 2/9/2011 6:39 AM

If you are not doing anything you shouldn't be doing, what difference does it make?!!! I say, "The more, the better!"

FireCop @ 2/9/2011 6:51 AM

Attention: ACLU. Go away. We're not interested at all in what you want or think. You have outlasted your usefulness long ago and now you seem to have difficulty in determining a good clear focus on any type of responsible mission. The majority of the population in this great country is not interested in what a bunch of Kool Aid drinking nut jobs feel needs to be 'corrected' to suit their wants and desires.

Scott @ 2/9/2011 12:25 PM

@Bryan, I agree 100%!!

I find it rather amusing that this group of thugs wants less cameras, given the fact they use them to their advantage by pointing out possible faults of others, when they have a "member" of their group in trouble for breaking the law.

Scott @ 2/9/2011 3:02 PM

I'm not a fan of the ACLU, however I am also not a fan of an overreaching government. We have the tools we need to fight crime without taping every inch of a city. We should learn the lesson that history teaches. Suppose Hitler had these tools at his disposal back in his day, how many more would have died or suffered at his hand if he could have surveilled on the German people like we are. I'm not saying that anyone now is capable of what Hitler did but we don't know what the future holds. We need to regulate these technologies before they are misused.

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