Portland, OR considers ubiquitous CCTV surveillance


Devon sez, "Portland, OR is the next city to consider a plan to implement police surveillance cameras throughout the downtown area. The proposal is to have surveillance cameras that can be accessed and controlled by police officers through their mobile devices. Although the Portland Police Bureau has assured the city council that the mobile devices will be secure, they are proposing to have the system operated through a wi-fi network. This proposal is coming at a time of significant municipal budget woes, when Portland Police are facing the potential layoff of 56 officers. Mayor Adams maintains that this system will have a deterrent effect upon crime in downtown Portland."

Maxine Bernstein reports in The Oregonian:

Amid unaddressed concerns, the Portland City Council on Wednesday sent Police Chief Mike Reese back to his bureau to draft stricter policies before allowing police to place surveillance cameras on private property in Old Town and Chinatown.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman echoed concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon when he asked for assurances that police wouldn't use the cameras to peep into private residences.

Reese, who wants to put up the video surveillance cameras to help officers monitor drug deals, said "These cameras are not focused on anything but public right-of-ways."

The chief, though, did acknowledge in response to a question that the cameras the bureau has are able to "pan, tilt and zoom."

While Reese said any footage obtained from a private residence wouldn't be allowed in a criminal prosecution, Saltzman wasn't satisfied.

He said he wouldn't support the ordinance unless a clear policy was in place prohibiting the misuse of the camera technology.

Portland Council wants more assurances before allowing police to put surveillance cameras on private property (Thanks, Devon!)

(Image: CCTV camera, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from flem007_uk's photostream)