In case you hadn’t heard: Surveillance-cameras meeting Tuesday night at Alki Bathhouse

March 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm | In Seattle Police surveillance cameras, West Seattle news | 30 Comments

If you missed it over the weekend: Late Friday night, Seattle Police announced the dates/places/times for the first two public meetings about the Homeland Security-funded surveillance-camera system first reported here in late January (WSB coverage archive here): The first meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday) night, 7 pm, at the Alki Bathhouse, steps from the first camera noticed by a reader, the one on a pole next to Statue of Liberty Plaza, one of more than two dozen cameras police plan to install from Ballard to Fauntleroy (those already installed include the one in the photo above, at 63rd SW/Beach Drive). If you have questions, concerns, words of support, anything to say or ask, or if you just want to hear firsthand, be there.

30 Comments

  1. It doesn’t matter what the public wants. It’s about lining pockets with money. It’s money money money.

    Comment by Russ — 7:45 pm March 11, 2013 #

  2. Do we know who is showing up? Council members or just SPD?

    Comment by Citizen — 7:56 pm March 11, 2013 #

  3. Please show up and protest this escalation of the surveillance state. SPD is acting like drunk-with-power voyeurs. They don’t need these things. They won’t stop crime or terrorists (yeah right). Look at the one at the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock. It doesn’t even pretend to be aimed at the water. It’s watching everyone who passes along the street. Why? It’s hard to leave your house in W. Seattle without being videotaped by Big Bully Brother and his red light cams, school zone cams, SPD-DHS anti-terrorists-hiding-in-the-bushes-in- the-park cams. This has to stop.

    Comment by Abbie — 9:11 pm March 11, 2013 #

  4. That’s right Russ….It doesn’t matter what you tell them. They aren’t coming down. Waste of time! Look, they already installed them and didn’t care about your thoughts on it.

    Comment by toodles — 9:13 pm March 11, 2013 #

  5. Citizen, that’s a great question and I am neglectful for not having asked it today with all the contacts back in the office. Will see if I can find out anything additional about the agenda/participants/etc.

    Comment by WSB — 9:26 pm March 11, 2013 #

  6. Russ,Toodles- so are you going to the meeting to voice your objections/ concerns? You are so sure nothing can be done- but you might be surprised at how many others feel as you do & there is strength in numbers. A defeatist attitude acheieves nothing but defeat.

    Comment by Anne — 9:54 pm March 11, 2013 #

  7. Any chance we can just watch it via one of the cameras?

    Comment by Shock Guy — 10:03 pm March 11, 2013 #

  8. I feel much more scrutiny and more unease about the pervasive, claustrophobic political correctness here. Feels like Invasion of the Body Snatchers sometimes.

    It seems like we get it from every angle.

    Comment by G — 10:28 pm March 11, 2013 #

  9. Shock Dude, I suspect Seattle Channel will be there, though probably not live. We’ll check on that too.

    Comment by WSB — 10:29 pm March 11, 2013 #

  10. Due to the short notice I am unable to attend, I have prior commitments that I am not able to reschedule that will probably last until 8. Yeesh. I will be watching Seattle.gov and here at WSB for updates.

    Anyone who can, please attend.

    Comment by B_B — 11:31 pm March 11, 2013 #

  11. Am I the only resident of this neighborhood who feels a little safer with these cameras installed, especially during the summer when rowdy behavior seems to escalate?

    Comment by Amrakx — 8:22 am March 12, 2013 #

  12. Amrakx — No there are likely others, as there were many East Germans who felt a little safer with the Stasi (State Security Service) in power. The Stasi was a sprawling bureaucracy, with 10s of 1,000s of employees, and informants, not unlike D. of Homeland Security. Up until 1989,the Stasi mission was to spy on its own population. That’s what we are emulating here — a vast, highly technological, internal spying network. The data collection on and monitoring of private citizens is not far removed from that of Hitler’s Gestapo or the Soviet Union’s KGB.

    Comment by Abbie — 8:57 am March 12, 2013 #

  13. I agree with Abbie, it’s purpose reinforces the militarization of policing focused on our “homeland.” Which term was borrowed from the NAZI’S.

    Comment by john bocchetti — 9:06 am March 12, 2013 #

  14. @ Amrakx: no you are not. I am concerned about people doing illegal things at anytime during the year, but what I think a majority of the commenters here are saying is survelliance cameras and other such devices are not the way to do it. A police presence does a lot to mitigate illegal behavior right on the spot. Also vigilant citizens who call 911. I and others are also concerned that SPD and the city council have installed surveillance technology giving us a virtual police state without at a minimum talking to citizens. This “vetting” after the fact only seems to point to the government’s lack of true democratic actions. Did you see Asst Chief Kimerer when he “oh, yeah. I guess mea culpa.” He seemed to shrug his shoulders. With the SPD requiring invention by the justice department right now, it seems more concerning and it is more evidence that they need reform.

    On another note, Mr. Mayor: please think about how you change out beautiful free city by putting in survelliance cameras. It can and will have a chilling effect on activism of all kinds. People may not feel like protesting environmental issues as well, which is our right to do peacefully without cameras focused on us. I am sure it will be if a police officer thinks we should survey the faces in the crowd. Maybe they will use the cameras against you in some form. This has been done in other states/governments.

    Comment by Citizen — 9:16 am March 12, 2013 #

  15. Blase’ attitudes by enough of the population are quite helpful in ending up with the scenario described by Abbie.
    If too many people think history cannot repeat itself , it almost certainly will.

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 9:31 am March 12, 2013 #

  16. Just curious why you feel safer Amrakx ? The cameras will do nothing to stop a problem. Growing up at Alki in the 60s-70s there was always police presents mostly undercover /narcs. Anybody that spent alot of time there knew who they were. 95% of the time they would stop the problems before they got out of hand much better than any camera. You screwed up you were going for a ride to the poky or getting a ticket. Hands on, much better than someone sitting on there butt watching something happen on a monitor in never never land.
    What McGinn, city counsel and SPD are doing here is very bad and people should be held accoutable for blowing money on projects like this. Would like to know how much time and money they are spending on this issue to try selling and covering their rears on this one.
    I do wish there would have been more notice about the meeting tonite as we have a big block watch meeting to attend, funny how that works.

    Comment by wetone — 9:32 am March 12, 2013 #

  17. There is one more camera they have not put up yet. the camera at Alki Point. The pole where the fiber optic cables terminate directly overlooks our yard. It offers a view directly into the bedroom windows of two homes, and it is 20 feet from the balcony of some unfortunate’s condo, and able to observe that person’s life in detail.

    The view of the water is obstructed.

    If a camera is placed on that pole, will it be possible for residents to go about their law-abiding daily lives without the constant feeling that they may be being observed?

    Which SPD personnel will be assigned to watch them?

    The SPD takes the position that they have the right to observe anything that takes place in a position observable from a public place (for example this pole).

    If a stranger with a pair of binoculars were to climb the pole opposite your bedroom windows, what would you do. Just close the drapes for the rest of your life?

    Comment by observable — 9:42 am March 12, 2013 #

  18. This also is the same night as two community councils – second Tuesday has been a big meeting night for many years (there used to be even more councils meeting on this night).

    Comment by WSB — 9:42 am March 12, 2013 #

  19. Anne… nope I don’t care don’t live on Alki or near any camera.

    Comment by toodles — 9:58 am March 12, 2013 #

  20. When software masking is used to :insure” privacy inside the home, what level of suspicion will be required to remove it? Will it require a search warrant issued by the court? Just probable cause as determined by the operator of the camera? ‘reasonable’ suspicion? or will it be just knowing the password and not entering the intrusion in the log by accident on a slow, boring, camera-watching night after seeing someone interesting entering their residence?

    Comment by observable — 9:58 am March 12, 2013 #

  21. @Amrakx: I think you are being reasonable.

    @ Almost everyone else: I’d like to remind you of Godwin’s law and its corollaries. Honestly, the beach cameras are a minor privacy concern all things considered. Anyone who wants to be privacy activist has much bigger fish to fry. To be consistent in your concerns, do you advocate that all of the unregulated surveillance cameras in the Alki storefronts be dismantled also? How about banning Google, Bing, or Apple streets? What about tourist or home surveillance/security cameras? As other have noted, the beach and streets are public places. You have no expectation of privacy on the streets, parks, or any public place. Do you propose to change our basic privacy laws, and what implications does that have?

    Comment by -A — 10:01 am March 12, 2013 #

  22. @ A –Nice try, but your comparisons miss a vital link. It’s true that private business owners and tourists have cameras. But what they do not have is the apparatus of the state security services behind them. The tourist with a Polaroid in public cannot knock your door down, arrest you, take you away somewhere, and take you to trial based on evidence they collected without probable cause. Again, nice try, but it is a totally difference scenario when the taxpayer-funded guy taking the pictures also holds the keys to the taxpayer-funded prisons.

    Comment by Abbie — 10:30 am March 12, 2013 #

  23. Private surveillance cameras that monitor businesses or personal property are a lot different than a system of cameras that are on a mesh network that provide information to police and other governing bodies.

    If you can’t make the meeting tonight continue to barrage our elected officials with your complaints and concerns.

    Comment by CE — 10:36 am March 12, 2013 #

  24. How long before this happens here?

    http://www.myfoxny.com/story/21582450/nj-woman-accused-of-exposing-breasts-at-cameras

    Comment by Les Nessman — 11:34 am March 12, 2013 #

  25. Don’t fight the power, let the govbots do as they will without complaint! The growing police/surveillance state is only for your own security. It will NEVER be used against law-abiding comrades…

    Sieg Heil, Baby!

    Comment by Winston Smith — 12:32 pm March 12, 2013 #

  26. @ Les: I give it about 5 minutes before someone exposes themselves to these “blind” cameras (best oxymoron evah). In fact, I can guarantee it… I still have hope these tax-payer-paid invasions of privacy can be torn down. To those who can attend, please do us proud tonight and let your distrust and anger shine through! Enough is enough.

    Comment by chuck and sally's van man — 12:42 pm March 12, 2013 #

  27. It seems to me that this public meeting poses quite a dilemma for the tinfoil hat crowd that is so up in arms about this. I mean, how can you possibly show up to protest the government’s evil plan to collect 24-hour footage of rollerbladers and dog walkers along Alki Ave. without identifying yourself as a potential troublemaker? They’re planning to have CAMERAS at the meeting!! You show up to this meeting and you’re surely at the top of the list to be hauled off to the gulag when the Thought Police decide it’s time. I suppose people should consider showing up wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Or perhaps the City Council could have bins of Groucho Marx glasses just outside the door.
    .
    Of course let’s all ignore the fact that if the government truly wanted to surveil us they could totally do it with tiny, HD cameras completely obscured from public notice, not the big honking rigs we’re talking about here. Or better yet, they’d probably just tap into the existing constellation of networked cameras currently in place (traffic cameras, ATM cameras, security cameras inside every retail store, fast food franchise and dry cleaners on the peninsula). Most of our Net-connected computers these days have built-in webcams that could probably be remotely activated at any time without our knowledge. Home security cameras are everywhere. And our GPS enabled cellphones and tablets are transmitting our locations in real time, even when the government’s nosy satellites aren’t watching us from overhead. To me, attacking these cameras for invading our privacy (IN A PUBLIC PLACE) remains an obtuse endeavor.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 5:11 pm March 12, 2013 #

  28. Wow. Really CJ? Tinfoil hat crowd? Considering you (presumably) draw a paycheck from the very “blog”/news outlet you are posting on, it seems below professional to me that you are here taking shots at people who are helping feather your nest every time we log on and click through articles. I hardly wear tinfoil, but I know when my freedoms are being trampled on.

    Comment by chuck and sally's van man — 9:45 am March 13, 2013 #

  29. C&S – Christopher is a freelance photojournalist and his opinions are his own, not sanctioned or endorsed (or opposed) any more than yours or anyone else commenting on news stories or participating in the WSB Forums. He has worked with us as a photojournalist for more than five years, increasingly seldom in the past couple years because his primary work, as has been noted on WSB and hundreds of other places, is as an internationally acclaimed art photographer. What relatively little we pay him and other freelancers (though more than some news outlets pay their freelancers!) does not come with a requirement to remain silent. Patrick and I, as the only fulltime staff members of WSB, choose not to editorialize or otherwise write opinion pieces, but we have never banned those who work for us on occasion from posting their opinions in the comment or forum sections if they so choose. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:06 am March 13, 2013 #

  30. I’m not offended by the “tinfoil hat” comments. Those typically come from people who simply aren’t aware of the current state of our surveillance state. I felt similarly before I started digging in. The stuff that’s happening nowadays, and the rate at which it’s increasing, still takes my breath away. If I hadn’t been paying close attention in recent years, much of it would sound like crazy-talk.

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 6:59 pm March 14, 2013 #

Sorry, comment time is over.

All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^