SF supervisors create plan to grant police more access to surveillance cameras


A committee of San Francisco supervisors is set to discuss police access to private surveillance cameras on Monday.

If approved, the new policy would allow police to view feeds from private cameras as events unfold.

The police currently do not have access to it without the authorization of the supervisory board.

Discussions to give police greater access to private cameras took place during the armed robberies in Union Square last November.

Police said there were warnings of possible violence in the shopping area, but police could not watch live feeds to see where people were meeting or where getaway cars were waiting.

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The Mayor of London Breed backs the plan, saying the technology is there to help police prevent or solve crime and increase safety in the city.

“The goal is to review what could potentially happen, based on the information the department receives, and decide whether it needs to monitor a particular situation,” Mayor Breed said.

People should either offer their surveillance cameras to the police or ask the police to see them, Breed said.

Civil liberties groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU, said access is unlikely to help police much. Instead, it would interfere with people’s right to privacy.

They also said it could pose a threat to protesters as police could use live streams to identify those exercising their right to free speech.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday at 10:00 a.m. People can watch the meeting live. here.


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