Police want to use your home security cameras for surveillance

A proposal in California suggests that local residents should contribute their security camera video for the societal good.

Home surveillance cameras catch many things. Hdymer/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We're all in this together.

The authorities are peeking in on our progress thought life, and we accept it as part of our security.

But they don't want us to feel left out. So now they're wondering whether they might be able to use our security for, you know, everyone's.

An imaginative proposal emerging from San Jose, Calif., City Councilman San Liccardo asks for citizens to donate their own home security systems for the greater good.

As the San Jose Mercury News reports, all the citizens would have to do is to register their home security cameras with the local police.

In the event of a local incident of any kind, the police would be able to remotely access the video feed and view everything the home security camera captured.

Supporters suggest that this is an intelligent and logical suggestion to combat increasing crime in what used to be known as a safe part of America.

However, Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, offered the Mercury News an alternative perspective: "Once you give the police unfettered access 24/7, you're relying on them to exercise their restraint."

This might, indeed, seem like an act of excessive faith.

One scenario also might haunt some minds. What if the police have remote access to your security cameras and you yourself are involved in certain activities that might, under strict interpretations, be regarded as against the law?

Still, San Jose isn't the first to enjoy this suggestion. Cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago are already testing the idea.

Los Gatos-Monte Sereno in California is another area that's achieved the cooperation of its citizens.

One of its police officers, Catherine Mann, assured the Mercury News that the police weren't "sitting around watching live videos" from people's homes.

But in our highly unstable world -- where many are desperate to be seen, but some still value a touch of privacy -- it's rarely the promises that disturb, it's the possibilities.

 

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