Surveillance Fact: Security cameras have been around for longer than you may imagine. They have been available since 1942 and in use since the 1960’s. The first security camera was used by Germany on a rocket and the first industry to adapt security cameras into every day use was the banking industry.
Although surveillance has been a part of our lives for many decades, it can still be an unsettling concept. It’s a natural thing to wonder what ‘big brother’ can see and what is being done with the images and information.
The City of Seattle has published the first draft of Surveillance Impact Reports (SIRs) for six of the 29 currently existing surveillance technologies, per the Surveillance Ordinance. We’re looking for the public’s input on the SIRs to help the provide Council with insight into community perspective and ensure City policies responsibly govern the use of these technologies.
The public comment period opens today, Monday, October 8, and runs through Monday, November 5. The complete list of technologies in this first group for review, can be found below. We have three ways to allow residents to provide input and share their concerns.
- Residents can submit their surveillance comments online at: City of Seattle Privacy website.
- Seattle residents can also mail comments to Attn: Surveillance & Privacy Program, Seattle IT, PO Box 94709, Seattle, WA 98124
- Public Engagement Sessions: The City will hold a series of five community meetings, listed below. The meetings will include a presentation on the technologies, followed by small group discussions. These will be facilitated to allow attendees to interact with members of their community, ask questions, hear from technology experts in the department. Attendees may also provide written comment at the meetings, without staying the entire time.
|Public Meeting||Departments Presenting||Technologies for Discussion||Date and Time||Location|
|Meeting 5||Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Fire Department||License Plate Readers, Traffic Cameras, Emergency Scene Cameras, and HazMat Cameras||November 5, 20184:30-5:30 p.m.||Green Lake Branch Library7364 East Green Lake Dr. N, Seattle, WA 98115|
Complete list of Group One technologies:
|Department||Technologies Submitted for Public Comment|
|Seattle Police Department||1. Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR),2. Parking Enforcement Systems (includes ALPR)|
|Seattle Fire Department||3. Hazardous Materials Cameras4. Emergency Scene Cameras|
|Seattle Department of Transportation||5. License Plate Readers6. Closed Circuit Television “Traffic Cameras”|
More information on these six technologies, as well as the City of Seattle’s Privacy program, can be found online at the City of Seattle’s Privacy website.
This public input period is a valuable part of our process. The City of Seattle is committed to be transparent and accountable. Hearing from residents is part of the process. We welcome your thoughts and comments. We look forward to hearing what you have to say.