As-it-happened coverage: SPD surveillance-cameras meeting on Alki – ‘We’re not hiding anything’

March 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm | In Seattle Police surveillance cameras, West Seattle news | 45 Comments

7:09 PM: We’re at Alki Bathhouse with more than thirty people as Seattle Police start their first meeting about the surveillance-camera system originally reported here on WSB. Leading off the meeting, Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh, who we interviewed about the system back on February 1st. Also here, Det. Monty Moss, who has led some of the briefings, and a full complement of citywide media, plus other SPD personnel (including from the public affairs/media relations office, Sgt. Sean Whitcomb and Det. Jeff Kappel). Moss is making a background-information slide presentation, similar so far to the ones he gave to the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee on February 20th as well as to the Alki Community Council the next night. (Added: Unedited WSB video of the entire hour-and-a-half meeting:)

7:12 PM: Det. Moss says they should be “done with the installation by the end of this month” and are continuing to work on policies regarding the cameras’ usage. He says two cameras are being installed “as we speak” in the Ballard Locks area, and they’re still seeking a location along Seaview, “but it will not be in Golden Gardens Park.” Closer to here, he says the Terminals 5 and 18 cameras are now installed. After discussing the camera locations, he’s showing the video demonstration about how the “privacy masking” will work, and noting that the frame rate for the video will be 5 to 7 frames per second, about a quarter of what TV broadcasts use. He says the video is recorded with the masking, and that it cannot be removed afterward – no matter what the cameras wind up picking up.

He also describes the antenna arrays for the “wireless mesh” portion of the system, which is expected to be used by other agencies from Metro to Seattle Fire, which will use it in some areas as its primary means of communication, according to Det. Moss.

The crowd continues to grow – probably closer to 40 now.

**CONTINUING AHEAD, THE REST OF OUR AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE, PLUS NOTES FROM AFTERWARD**

7:23 PM: “What we’re proposing is a public-safety system,” says Chief McDonagh, taking over. But, he says, there are privacy concerns, which he says they discussed early on. There is a possibility of putting a physical barrier between cameras and whatever they shouldn’t see, but, he says, that would be vulnerable to vandalism. “This privacy masking occurs at the camera before anyone sees it,” and that’s why he says they chose that method. “Part of this program going forward … the idea here is, it’s not going to end there. “We’re going to have a situation where civilians can see the privacy masking as it’s up” and comment. He also says they will put up a website that “every camera” will be viewable on – this is new. He deals with terrorism, he says, “and one of the threats is to our maritime industry so my job is to provide public safety to the citizens of Seattle under that arena. .. The video will be recorded but I will not be staffing it 24/7.” He says it will be a “response tool and investigative tool .. and with the privacy masking we believe we will not have an issue” of violating someone’s privacy. He says what we’ve heard before, that the video would be retained for 30 days unless it’s pulled out – then, if not pulled out (which would be logged) for a criminal investigation, it would be overwritten. He says SPD believes it’s the only agency in the country that will be putting privacy masking on surveillance cameras. “A lot of what you’re saying requires that we just trust (you),” asks an Alki resident. “I can log onto a website and see that it seems masked but” how can that be proven? Chief McDonagh then says that it could be viewed by citizens who are chosen to be able to do that “whenever they want” – members of the Precinct Advisory Committee are being proposed. “The whole intention of this is not to spy on the citizens of Seattle … I don’t want that either … there are things in place in the policy that is being drafted right now” for privacy protections.

Now we’re not clear whether he’s saying the cameras will be visible via a public website or via members of the public chosen to come to SPD HQ and vet them.

7:32 PM: “This project is the port … we have a reason to be concerned about the port, and that’s what we are addressing,” McDonagh said. Then Sgt. Verner O’Quin says what they will make available is a still every 30 seconds or 2 minutes – McDonagh chimes in, “what we’re trying to do is not enable (somebody to become a) stalker.” Someone asks if this system will make Seattle more susceptible to cyber-attack. Next question, what’s the zooming capability of the cameras, and will the park area be masked? 150 yards-ish, is the zooming answer. Re: the parks, Det. Moss says, “anything that the public has the right to see, the camera has the right to see.” What about something visible from the sidewalk? “If you as a human being can see it, that’s OK, but a camera, that’s illegal,” says Det. Moss.

What about the position of the cameras? The Fauntleroy camera appears not to be facing the water, it’s pointed out. That may just be a mistake, just like the original position of some of the Alki cameras, is the SPD reply. (Here’s a photo we’ve published before:)

A man says he’s from Spud Fish and Chips and they’ve had graffiti problems and he wonders if the cameras can help catch the vandals. Contact police and “it could be used for that” if it has recorded a crime in progress, Chief McDonagh says. He is asked next, “How can you do surveillance at Alki but you couldn’t at Golden Gardens?” McDonagh starts to say that’s because they’re across the street – he is corrected: “They’re on the sidewalk.” He says, “Well, all I can say is, they’re not in the park.” A man now identifies himself as a Socialist Workers representative and brings up the Longview situation last year. He says he believes this will be used in the future to suppress protest activities. Next, they are asked about the specific cameras. Both are Canons, police reply. The next question results in information that three thermal-imaging cameras were installed on Harbor Patrol boats – not at fixed locations.

In response to the next question, McDonagh says the Port of Seattle *is* a partner in this system – which hadn’t been clarified before. One attendee points out this won’t have any preventive effects. Chief McDonagh counters that by saying he believes that the cameras could help “interdict” a terrorist act. “Video has been able to successfully resolve a number of cases” worldwide, says McDonagh. Next, a woman says she is “old-fashioned” in being behind police and public-safety personnel, whatever they do, but she also is behind the Bill of Rights and unlawful search/seizure. She says she lives nearby and “it kind of hurts to think of having cameras looking at us. I’m a cancer patient. I can’t tell you how many times I go out for a walk … I use this beach to heal. I don’t want someone looking and saying, ‘There she is again.’ Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should do a thing. I taught computers for years and they have changed from what they originally started to be. I’m calling for something that’s a check for common sense. What’s wrong with including the fact that people love this beach, want to play on the beach, walk our dogs … we don’t want a camera watching us do it.”

7:49 PM: McDonagh says they don’t want to watch people on the beach and most cameras won’t be turned that way – but the cameras may be helpful in some situations. He mentions long-ago riots on Alki, the plane crash near Salty’s, and how a camera might have helped in those cases. Det. Moss then mentions the “home” position each camera will have – except when it’s moved for an incident. “We’re not using facial recognition… there’s no analytics on the camera,” says Det. Moss. An Alki resident then says, “Why did the cameras go up before residents were told? And you installed them (incorrectly) … It seems there was a rush to get them up … I’m curious what the rush was.” Chief McDonagh says there were “plans for press conferences … but (something) came up.” He said they were “in a rush because we have a certain timeline for the grant.”

Will there be signs letting people know they’re on camera? asks an attendee. “I’m not opposed to putting a sticker or sign on them,” says McDonagh. He’s asked to clarify, and he says, one that could be seen from 30 feet away would be OK. Next question comes from Phil Mocek, who has been researching this situation. He asks where the rest of the money went, since it was said at the Alki Community Council meeting last month that this system took $3.5 million of the nearly $5 million grant. Chief McDonagh says King County’s helicopter was the recipient of some of the equipment, and it’s all in the RFP and contract proposal. Sgt. O’Quin says that’s available online. McDonagh says, “I know it all came out kind of strange, but at the same time, we’re not hiding anything, my duty is to protect and to maintain your privacy, and I think we came up with a very good compromise.”

8 PM: A woman says that she understands the police think they are doing the right thing, but so did others in the past such as when Japanese-Americans were interned. She mentions the “health dangers” of being “immersed in a radio-frequency cloud … of wi-fi.”

McDonagh says he agrees that he wants to avoid the “slippery slope.” Next a man says he went around and noticed the installations were powered. Yes, they have power, police acknowledged, but the cameras are not activated. Did SPD get the microphone option for the cameras it’s using? the man asked. No – recording audio is illegal, he was told. Next question: If many agencies will use it, who owns the backbone? The city of Seattle, is the reply. The followup: What if someone penetrates the network; what would they have access to? Det. Moss replies, “We have a lot of layers of security and the partners that will be using the network have a lot of layers beyond that.” How many non-public entities will have access? “We’re putting up public-safety cameras for fire, police, traffic to use,” replied Det. Moss. He said he was asked “if the feds are paying for this, why don’t they have access to it?” and said he replied that the cameras will help public-safety agencies do their jobs. “The feds are not connecting to our network” – aside from the US Coast Guard remaining “under consideration” to do that.

8:12 PM: There’s no backup power for the mesh system, is the response to another question. If there’s a problem, the electric system can rewire around a localized outage, Chief McDonagh said. This system is not replacing radio and other communications, he says – it is designed to “compliment” it. “Could you keep the mesh system for communication and ditch the cameras?” someone else asks. “Yes – but the need remains,” said McDonagh, insisting he is not “paranoid … I’m trying to implement a system focused on a specific threat … so that we can hopefully protect our city.” Will the 90-day access log for the cameras be public record? We can do that, says McDonagh. He says yes, there can be a map of their final locations, but he does not believe they can map its final field of view. Next, he says the cameras will not affect how Alki is staffed with police officers. Those officers will not be able to control the cameras from the field – it’s a fixed view “until someone takes control of the camera.” This is not related to the recently announced Predictive Policing (“PredPol”), he said. McDonagh also said that they’re aware, as discussed at last week’s Council committee briefing, that the technology and rules will have to be re-evaluated a few years down the line. But, he said, there are some areas of the city that WANT cameras. “Couldn’t you give it to them?” someone then asks. Reply: “No, I can’t.” A man then comes up to say that he has no problems with the cameras, with X-ray machines at airports, he doesn’t understand why people are concerned about “things that make us safer,” and police “can put all the cameras on my block you want.”

8:19 PM: So how will the public view of the surveillance cameras not be exploited by someone? police are asked. Det. Moss says that a still refreshed every 2 minutes or so should keep it from not becoming “a reality show.’ If there’s an incident in progress, the cameras would be taken offline, Chief McDonagh says, so that people don’t “steal those images and put them on the Web … that would be disrespectful.” Someone points out that SDOT’s traffic cameras are listed online and have one-minute refreshes – and they have a few that provide live video. McDonagh reiterates that he doesn’t want to provide video, but the idea of having all the cameras listed on a map, “that’s what we want to design,” though it’s not done yet.

Now a man who says he has lived nearby for years recounts a “shootout” that had a long response time. (He seems to be talking about the Pepperdock shooting a few years back.) But now, “Big Brother moving in … is it really going to make a difference?” Cameras are going to have some deterrence, McDonagh said. “But what does it do to us residents? Do we have to worry about what we do now because (we’re being watched)?” No, says McDonagh, before a restaurant owner says he thinks people might come back here because they feel safer. Then someone else says yes, but people might not come here because they’ll be visible on camera. This moves to a dialogue between attendees for a while, and then McDonagh takes control again. “It’s technology moving forward … what we’re trying to do is apply technology with guidelines and controls.” He reiterates that the main concern is what’s happening out on the water. “Is a license plate enough to get a conviction for a crime” if something is caught on camera? McDonagh is asked. He says it might help but first the individuals involved must be identified.

8:31 PM: The meeting is close to wrapping up. The topic of the International District’s privately owned camera system comes up again. It helped solve crimes, Det. Moss says; they asked the camera owners for the video. They’re asked if the system could be used for a wiretap; not without a judge signing a warrant, is the reply. Will the cameras be used for covert surveillance operations? is the followup question, say, you can point the camera at the home of someone who turns out to be a suspect? If a judge is convinced, theoretically, yes, but McDonagh thinks that’s not too likely.

*The meeting ended shortly thereafter. We’ve just spoken to Chief McDonagh with a few questions for clarification; will update and add some more background links and images here when we’re back at HQ.

10:53 PM: We have the entire meeting on video and have just added the clip, unedited, near the top of this report. From the aforementioned conversation: Yes, he confirms, the website they’re working on would be accessible to anyone, with stills from the cameras in the network – that’s an update from the original suggestion they might make a “few” cameras available online. We asked if they have decided who would be able to control the cameras; McDonagh says they will recommend that “supervisors” have the ability – say, a shift commander for police, maybe a battalion chief for the Fire Department, a manager in the Traffic Management Center for SDOT – but this will all be brought to the City Council for approval, as per the terms of the surveillance-system oversight rules on which the council will vote next Monday.

If you couldn’t make it to this meeting but want to hear the presentation firsthand, and/or ask questions, there’s another one next Tuesday (March 19), 7 pm, at the Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell St., and others TBA, per SPD. If you have something to say in the meantime, SPD has set up the e-mail address cameraquestions@seattle.gov.

45 Comments

  1. I figure there was some crime near Alki Point about 100 years ago so we should allow cameras there now, you know, to catch any future perps, yeah, sounds good, let’s go with that.

    Comment by EndsToTheMean — 8:01 pm March 12, 2013 #

  2. I hope the paranoid folks are out-numbered by West Seattleites who just want to see a few thugs caught. Run, you little thug, run. Run away from the camera, thug. Uff da.

    Comment by ROFL — 8:09 pm March 12, 2013 #

  3. Mayor McGinn: this s NOT a vetting. The police has fxull expectation that the cameras are going to in operation.

    Comment by Citizen — 8:27 pm March 12, 2013 #

  4. Council members Harrell, O’Brien, and Bagshaw: this is NOTa public vetting. Cameras will displace crime. But most residents here hate it.

    Comment by Citizen — 8:29 pm March 12, 2013 #

  5. I’d still love for the explicit people in the city government who signed off on this project to be named, and on what authority it was done.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 8:53 pm March 12, 2013 #

  6. I find it befuddling that so many in ‘liberal’ West Seattle would complain about just a tad more government intrusion. If I had to guess, I would guess at least 70% of WS votes for every social ‘improvement’/intrusion that is proposed, and also votes for anyone who supports the above and is willing to ‘toe the big govt. line’.

    Question being – if this is too intrusive then where do you draw the line with healthcare, taxes, social programs, etc.?

    Not looking for any knee-jerk reactions, just looking for some solid logic, I am disturbed by the cameras as well.

    Comment by E — 10:05 pm March 12, 2013 #

  7. I won’t feel safer because there will be active cameras there. In fact I will feel less safe since the thugs will come here where there are no cameras. This is *not* a camera endorsement, quite the opposite.
    .
    They are going in because they got a grant, plain and simple.
    .
    Now they are letting the public vent in order to wear out their objections.

    Comment by dsa — 10:12 pm March 12, 2013 #

  8. Paranoid?
    How cheaply some hold their civil liberties, and any notion of a quaint concept called “privacy”.
    Additionally, some seem awfully “paranoid” of crime…see how that works?

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 10:17 pm March 12, 2013 #

  9. Two things. First, the cameras aren’t going to be actively monitored, so if a violent crime is committed, the only hope is that an image was captured and then the SPD may be able to catch the criminal. We can’t get SPD to investigate a lot of petty crimes already and they probably won’t go through the camera footage to catch a vandal.

    Second, it’s laughable to say that there are “many layers of security” to protect the system from being hacked. Look at the news for the last year – companies who spend far more on security are routinely hacked just for the exposure.

    I agree that this was not a proper vetting and we should have the Mayor and council members show up to take questions from voters.

    Comment by asj — 10:28 pm March 12, 2013 #

  10. So apparently there won’t be a “thorough public vetting”. The cameras are here to stay.

    I won’t be voting for an incumbent in this city for a long, long time – across the board.

    Comment by SPD Reform NOW — 11:07 pm March 12, 2013 #

  11. Surely you did not think there was any possibility of anyone rejecting this ‘free’ money and removing these cameras?
    As I said yesterday, we have devised a system of running this City that has disassociated decisions from responsibility or accountability.
    It has, and will continue to produce situations like these cameras, the Morgan bus bulbs, the RapidRide implementation, the issuance of development permits, and on, and on, and on.

    Comment by old timer — 11:28 pm March 12, 2013 #

  12. I hold my civil liberties quite dearly thank you. Sorry but this des not bother me- there are cameras everywhere– if these help catch someone who has broken the law – I applaud it. Since they are funded by a grant from Homeland Security – perhaps when that grant money runs out the city will ask the public to vote on funding- all opposed would have the opportunity to vote no at that time.

    Comment by Gene — 7:35 am March 13, 2013 #

  13. I agree with Gene. How many times after break ins have the police asked if anyone in the neighborhood has security cameras in hopes that they will be able to identify the culprit. Ideally, we would fix the social and economic problems that lead to the need for these tools but until then if it helps our police department to do a better job I’m for it. Yes, I’ve been a victim of crime.

    Comment by Norma — 8:48 am March 13, 2013 #

  14. “7:23 PM: “What we’re proposing is a public-safety system,” says Chief McDonagh, taking over.” This passage galls me the most. Calling this is a proposal is akin to a used car salesman driving a rusty bucket of bolts into your driveway that you don’t want or need and handing you the keys. He then “proposes” that because you’re getting it for free, you should be happy with this eyesore sitting in your driveway for the rest of your life. As another stated above, I will not vote for a single incumbent in this city for a very long time. What an unbelievable display of misguided use of power. Mayor McNowhere: Buh-bye!

    Comment by chuck and sally's van man — 9:35 am March 13, 2013 #

  15. I am a law abiding citizen and have no problem with these cameras. Enough with the paranoia.

    Comment by Chris — 9:49 am March 13, 2013 #

  16. Neighbors: Please consider the implications of city-wide public suveillance systems not just under the best conditions, administered by those with the best of intentions, but under worse conditions, administered by people who have no respect for our liberties. Please consider whether SPD staff have presented convincing evidence that the system will be secured from misuse by design, or simply by policy. Please consider whether SPD staff seem willing to prove the effectiveness of access control and other safeguards or if they will continue to ask us to blindly trust them.

    Policies change with the wind, careful examination of a system is neccessary for informed consent to it, and infringements upon people’s liberties are almost always introduced by seemingly-good people under a banner of “keeping us safe.”

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 9:53 am March 13, 2013 #

  17. Well said, Phil. Thank you.

    Comment by citizen — 10:03 am March 13, 2013 #

  18. Chris – NO ONE is paranoid. I am so tired of our civil liberties being eroded by well meaning bureaucrats trying to protect us. I will oppose any measure that continues to push this country/state/city/neighborhood into a surveillance state, a nanny state, a welfare state. Phil’s comments above are right on target. Why is privacy not valued anymore?

    Comment by Mark G — 10:11 am March 13, 2013 #

  19. I am a law abiding citizen, a homeowner, a voter, and I have a problem with these cameras. I have a problem with giving government free ride to operate an extra-judicial domestic spy network. Enough with the blind obedience. Enough with the total failure to question authority. We didn’t get stuck with police drones over our homes. (not yet anyway) Tell the mayor and council that reason should prevail on this issue too.

    Comment by Abbie — 10:14 am March 13, 2013 #

  20. If these cameras are not being staffed 24/7 in an immediate response center, what good are they to prevent terrorism or crime? More DHS benevolence.

    Comment by Edward — 10:18 am March 13, 2013 #

  21. I value privacy- but just disagree that these cameras are / will push us into being a surveillance state- to be honest there is plenty of vigilant opposition that would be on top of any misuse. I support tools that can help apprehend criminals.
    As for Washington being a nanny/ welfare state– we’re well on our way if not there already!

    Comment by Gene — 10:24 am March 13, 2013 #

  22. It’s surprising how incredibly hopeful people are that these cameras are going to really cut down on petty crime. Even when criminals are caught in the act (and that probably isn’t likely with this system) most are soon released back into the community and are right back doing what they do best. Instead what we have is the beginnings of a city-wide surveillance system in Seattle. The door is open and this network will surely grow in scope. We live in an urban area, and most of us, myself included, have been or will be victims of some sort of crime at one time or another. It’s just the way it is and we must do what we can to protect ourselves and our stuff. I am not so paranoid about crime that I’m willing to give up my freedom to be out and about in my community without constant government surveillance. Consider Phil’s comments above. This surveillance system may not always be one that is operated under the best circumstances by people with the best intentions.

    Comment by CE — 10:25 am March 13, 2013 #

  23. I guess I don’t understand how anyone for or against can believe anything McGinn,McDonagh,Moss and the city counsel have said about this project and many more. Their like a bad used car salesperson. They keep changing their explanations and details of this project at every meeting for best fit of the attendance. I could never trust anything they say, let alone be incharge of something like this. Thats what upsets me worse than the cameras. I got a few good laughs at some of the comments from McDonagh,Moss like this one, 150 yards-ish, is the zooming range = 450ft what does that have to do with port security. That’s barely to the low tide line. We got some smart ones here.

    Comment by wetone — 11:11 am March 13, 2013 #

  24. Gene: I, too, support “tools that can help apprehend criminals.” I suspect that most everyone expressing opposition to this public surveillance system supports tools that can help apprehend criminals. But we don’t support every such tool. We don’t support police cameras outside every front door. We don’t support license plate scanners at the end of every driveway. We would surely apprehend more criminals if we simply gave up our protection from unwarranted search and let police walk into our homes whenever they feel like it, let them stop and search anyone on the street for any reason or for no reason at all, and let them install cameras wherever they please, but the potential benefits do not warrant the potential detriments.

    In the United States, our police are not allowed to investigate everyone just so they’ll find a few more wrong-doers. Installing surveillance cameras everywhere we can afford to put them to record all of our actions in case someone wants to go back and review those recordings later is unacceptable to many of us. Installing such cameras without a shred of public process—with zero analysis of the potential negative effects—is simply inexcusable. We should demand a thorough analysis and we should be prepared to say to our police department, “No, thanks, this doesn’t pencil out, and now you need to remove the surveillance equipment you installed.”

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 12:50 pm March 13, 2013 #

  25. In no way do I support Mayor McGinn. He’s made my life much more difficult in many ways. He definitely has his own narrow agenda and doesn’t work for all of us. But I have no problem with the cameras. I have some concerns about drone cameras. They will be useful but have much greater potential for invasion of privacy.

    Comment by Norma — 2:45 pm March 13, 2013 #

  26. When are people going to start a petition? This is such a no-brainer violation of privacy that hundreds of signatures could be gotten just from those people who are walking along Alki, Beach Drive, travel back and forth to Vashon (i.e. signatures from those in the ferry line), etc.

    With a petition, those of us against this, would have proof of the sheer numbers. When people just submit their concerns individually to spd or the city, who knows what they do with them or if they tally them correctly.

    I can’t believe people behave like they have no choice. In the 1980′s the city was all set to build a FENCE along the water’s edge, bulkhead, etc. going from the boathouse (north of Salty’s) extending all the way to Alki and including on the promenade. Why? For their concerns of safety.
    (sound familiar). People rallied, got a petition, very, very easily got signatures and also gathered signed comment cards from those who wanted to add a comment to the city, and then hand delivered them to the city

    Wake up people. TAKE ACTION! It would be SO EASY.
    I would do it myself if I could.

    Comment by wake-up and fight — 3:23 pm March 13, 2013 #

  27. Totally agree with “wake-up and fight”—what are the proper protocols and procedures required to start a legal, bonafide petition that can actually be used in this instance?

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 5:25 pm March 13, 2013 #

  28. As this project is turning out to really have nothing to do with protecting the ports is this not a fraudulent use of money by the SPD and city of seattle, as it was funded by a grant from Homeland Security for the intentions of port security ?

    Comment by wetone — 7:20 pm March 13, 2013 #

  29. depends, are we trying to file an initiative to vote on, or just show the council how many residents oppose the cameras?

    Here’s one starting point: “Citizens’ Initiative Petition Guide: An Information Resource for Citizens”: http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~public/initref/citiniguide.htm

    Comment by Greg — 8:13 pm March 13, 2013 #

  30. A petition is a great idea. Not sure about calling for an initiative. But if the purpose is to show elected officials that the people oppose the cameras, anyone can start an electronic petition at http://www.change.org/

    Comment by Abbie — 9:01 pm March 13, 2013 #

  31. Hey WSB….can this be a story on the home page so more people know about it?

    Comment by bearschick — 8:31 am March 14, 2013 #

  32. This is what I put on my petition signature….

    The Parks & Rec department remove waste from garbage cans located at the base of the poles on which the Alki cameras are attached. That’s Parks & Rec domain. I disagree with the SPD claim the cameras are located outside the park. Really? Then why is Parks & Rec caring for an area that is actually not their responsibility.

    The benefit of FPD transmitting live patient data to Harborview would be valid if the mesh network actually covered West Seattle. But with the placement of the cameras, more than 95% of West Seattle does not benefit. It’s a moot benefit.

    The cameras, if truly for port security, should only be able to scan the water. No land. And they should not be able to see the beach while looking towards the sand. The cameras, if they are activated, should only be able to view the water and their focus adjusted for that. No scanning towards land should be allowed.

    If activated, a panel from the community should be allowed to audit camera movement logs on a monthly basis for the first 6 months, quarterly for the second 6 months, then perhaps semi-annually. Sorry SPD, you have not earned our trust on privacy masking. YOU HAVE TO RE-EARN IT.

    Comment by bearschick — 8:45 am March 14, 2013 #

  33. Bearschick: we should be allowed to audit everything about the cameras, as often as we wish, forever.

    After Tuesday’s meeting, there was further discussion with Monty Moss about the system. I’ll post audio this weekend and link to it from here. When the topic of public review of various logs came up, Sean Whitcomb (of SPD Public Affairs Unit, heavily involved in their transparency initiative) suggested that such logs be published to data.seattle.gov. I think that’s a fine idea.

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 9:42 am March 14, 2013 #

  34. The cameras are interesting, but I’m more interested in the mesh network… specifically the Aruba wireless access points.

    I want to know if SPD is going to enable & use the RFProtect features, as well as the wifi tracking. These WAPs have the ability to scan & sniff wifi traffic as well as map and track wifi devices in real time down to a couple feet.

    With the large coverage area of the mesh network, I’d say that has greater privacy implications than the cameras do.

    Comment by Gharp — 1:48 pm March 14, 2013 #

  35. Tell us more Gharp. Not many understand the technology. Are you saying they can access wi-fi with or without password protection? Is this like Trapwire?

    Comment by citizen — 3:29 pm March 14, 2013 #

  36. WSB, is it possible to get a new post at the top of the feed with info about the petition so that it comes to people’s attention?

    Comment by CE — 8:12 am March 15, 2013 #

  37. Yes, I’m planning to write an updated story later this morning with that plus the info on the surveillance regulation proposal going to the full council Monday.

    Comment by WSB — 8:31 am March 15, 2013 #

  38. Thanks so much!

    Comment by CE — 9:31 am March 15, 2013 #

  39. Besides the slippery-slope infringement on our freedoms which the cameras pose, please educate yourselves as to the HEALTH
    EFFECTS of living, working, playing in a 24/7 cloud of wifi mesh. Make your own judgements per it, but please at least review the info, and pass it along to people with children, so they can decide what they want for their families health.

    See: BioInitiative.org
    This is the result of a concerned group of very respected scientists worldwide, that got together to present the findings of 1000′s of studies per the acummulative health effects of the proliferation of electromagnetic frequencies.

    Our own Dr. Henry Lai, of the U.W. is one of them. (Motorola tried to get him fired years ago from U.W. when he first started bravely voicing concerns).

    Besides BioInitiative.org, a good You Tube set of videos for easy understanding:
    Wake up call from Electrosmog (1)
    Wake up call from Electrosmog (2) both articulated by Dr. Olle Johansson of Karolinka Institute (which awards the Nobel prize for physiology and medicine).
    On the petition, I would like to see a thumbs down of this wireless mesh, besides the cameras.
    We will be human guineapigs.

    Comment by eagleview — 11:29 am March 15, 2013 #

  40. Clarification: just an fyi, this above information is absolutely in no way anti-technology, cell-phone, etc. My point is, that according to these scientists, we are way past the “safe” threshold. And for the sake of our children, we better not rely on the government, nor on the studies done by manufacturers of these technologies to inform us as to what we are getting ourselves in to. This wifi mesh is a convenience that a whole lot of people may unknowingly pay a price for…

    Comment by eagleview — 12:05 pm March 15, 2013 #

  41. Kinda seems like more ways for the police to not do their jobs. Seattle, that place where they arrested an old lady for flashing a camera at 2am, they all amount to pretty much the same thing. Not catching (or even chasing) real criminals.

    Comment by Brandon — 1:18 pm March 15, 2013 #

  42. @Avrian — here are two suggestions for advertising for your change.com petition. 1.) Facebook offers very effective, fairly inexpensive and highly targeted advertising… Details here: https://www.facebook.com/business/connect 2.) Seems like a WSB ad like those to the right might be highly effective. Call WSB’s business-development director Patrick Sand @ 206/293-6302 or e-mail patrick@wsbsales.com

    Comment by Abbie — 7:37 pm March 15, 2013 #

  43. Just signed the petition, hope others will sign it too if they haven’t already done so. It would be great if the petition had a seperate article and post space on the WSB, for maximum visibility.

    Comment by Carol O. — 10:22 am March 18, 2013 #

  44. Sitting on my front porch I noticed two police
    sneaking down the hill, approaching me they
    demanded i stand down. They then asked for my
    identification. Since I don’t carry such at home
    that gave them the right to escort me into my
    home of 40 years, inspect the interior of my
    home to find an ID. They then informed my someone
    was being assaulted inside my place. Several
    minutes they simply left my location? The wrong
    people with even worse intentions. Now they are
    placing cameras in our back yards? Amazing.

    Comment by CR Johnson — 10:34 pm March 18, 2013 #

  45. @citizen: As far as sniffing traffic, the WAPs can only see traffic flowing across them, so they’d only be able to see your traffic if a device is connected. The Aruba’s do have the ability to spoof SSIDs as well as set up honeypots, although I don’t think SPD would arbitrarily use those features. The tracking however doesn’t require an active connection, and can show any wifi enabled device superimposed on a map in real time. Basically, if you have a smartphone, they’ll see your phone’s name and unique ID wandering around a map in real time.

    @eagleview: I’m sorry, but “wifi smog” is complete BS.
    Read. more. science.
    Protip: Peer reviewed science is your friend.

    Comment by Gharp — 10:12 am March 19, 2013 #

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