Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Police Camera A Good Idea

I cannot walk from Grand Central in any direction without being recorded on video. Whether it's a camera set up by the NYPD or one that's used for commercial security, it's a fact of life. An unfortunate but necessary fact of life in this post-9/11 world.

The bottom line is that I have nothing to hide and, weighing the privacy concerns against the potential for protection, I think this is a good idea.

"The purpose of this tool is to deter, detect and dissuade criminal activity," said Police Chief Colin McCormack. "I feel very strongly about the responsibility to use it correctly and I am going to write a very restrictive policy about how it will be used.

"One person will be assigned, there is no facial recognition software and there is no audio recording."

The Chief explained that it is likely that recordings will only be retained for up to 60 days unless it has to be preserved as evidence and subject to the records retention rules that he is still researching. Thereafter the recordings will be destroyed.

The camera is easily moved from one location to another and its motion detection software will enable it to give an audio warning that it's in operation should the Department personnel decide to enable that feature.

"Whether we decide to get more cameras will depend on our success with the first one," said the Chief.

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