Seattle Police surveillance cameras in West Seattle and beyond: Mayor promises ‘public vetting’

Almost two weeks after WSB broke the news about a network of surveillance cameras going up in West Seattle and beyond, Mayor McGinn is promising a “public vetting” before they go into operation. We had asked multiple times for his comments, and received this statement this afternoon via spokesperson Aaron Pickus:

I’ve directed the Seattle Police Department to brief any community groups or media interested in the port security system. The system will not be operated until a thorough public vetting of the system has been completed and the public has provided input. I will also be seeking input from other partners and beneficiaries of the system, including the Port, Coast Guard, fire department, and other public safety and transportation agencies, before any operational decisions are made.

No details yet on what will constitute the “thorough public vetting.” The camera network is funded – along with an accompanying “wireless mesh” communications system – by a $5 million federal Homeland Security grant that the City Council OK’d last May, as reported here January 31st. (On followup, Pickus says the outreach will be done through SPD.)

The first elected city official to publicly voice concerns about the camera network, Councilmember (and mayoral candidate) Tim Burgess, told WSB he found it “borderline problematic.” We reported his reaction last Thursday, along with news that the mayor announced the city would scrap a different Homeland Security-funded camera project, the so-called “drones.” This updated map of the system was in that same report:

(Click image for full zoomable PDF version of new map)
The first time we saw the entire camera-network map, Golden Gardens to Fauntleroy, was during an interview with the SPD Assistant Chief in charge of the project, Paul McDonagh, commander of the Special Operations Bureau (our reports on that interview were published February 1st and February 4th). At the time, he told us there were no plans for public briefings/discussions related to the system.

59 Replies to "Seattle Police surveillance cameras in West Seattle and beyond: Mayor promises 'public vetting'"

  • Stark February 11, 2013 (4:43 pm)

    We shouldn’t be having the conversation about whether the police should be spying on us until public agencies have alleviated all other social issues that exist today, from homelessness to potholes. And then, once those concerns are solved, the answer to a surveillance police state is still “No”.

  • nemobeansmom February 11, 2013 (5:03 pm)

    I agree with Stark!

  • OrdinaryCitizen February 11, 2013 (5:04 pm)

    I agree with Stark. Everyone in Seattle who cares about privacy should be concerned and up in arms. Our council must answer and justify why $s were expended for this and now admitted that they are going to be vetted when exposed and they experienced the backlash from the drone controversy.

  • mr. the horse February 11, 2013 (5:10 pm)


  • Trigger February 11, 2013 (5:29 pm)

    Agree with stark. If the mayor is serious about having a discussion about this, why were the cameras allowed to be installed beforehand? I hate to sound cynical, but I’ve heard this bull before. The installation of cameras miles away from the actual port appears to be mission creep at best, and something nefarious at worst.

  • Trigger February 11, 2013 (5:32 pm)

    Ordinary Citizen: I believe these cameras were the result of a homeland security grant and not necessarily bought with local $. I’m on my iphone at the moment, otherwise I would check for sure. That doesn’t make it right, just trying to be factual.

    • WSB February 11, 2013 (5:38 pm)

      Yes, and that’s mentioned/linked in the story (it was the subject of our January 31st report). The City Council voted last May to accept the nearly $5 million federal grant. Cameras were mentioned – but under the context of “port security,” not cameras that would turn up in recreational/residential areas. – TR

  • Trigger February 11, 2013 (5:37 pm)

    Folks, don’t underestimate our own power in all of this. We told the Council Critters that we weren’t putting up with drone surveillance and they backed down! The exact amount of tyranny that you will live under is equal to the amount that we will put up with!

  • Citizen Sane February 11, 2013 (5:42 pm)

    The cops can spy on me all they want on public land. When they spy on my chicken coop or laundry room, well, pilgrim, that is where I will draw a line.

    Now, get rid of those traffic cameras. Huh? No? lol

  • JunctionMonkey February 11, 2013 (5:45 pm)

    “The system will not be operated until a thorough public vetting of the system has been completed and the public has provided input.”
    The Ministry of Truth

    A little late for that don’t ya think since they are already in place. Fait acompli.

  • Kayzel February 11, 2013 (5:53 pm)

    Eternal vigilance is needed where surveillance cameras are concerned. Five years ago at about this time,surveillance cameras were illegally installed in Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park by the Nickels administration without notification to the City Council or the community at a cost of $144,000. It was particularly galling since a mayoral rep had met with community representatives the previous fall about the idea, who unequivocally rejected it. City assurances were given for future community discussion. Six months later neighbors witnessed the camera installation and a group mobilized to get them removed. This was finally accomplished in Fall 2010. This is the short version of this story.

  • Jason February 11, 2013 (5:59 pm)

    If people aren’t doing things they shouldn’t be doing, then this really shouldn’t be an issue.

  • let them swim February 11, 2013 (6:16 pm)

    @Trigger, Homeland Security=tax dollars. Whether
    Federal or Local, it’s still tax dollars.
    And I say no to Big Brother watching over us.You’re right on Stark.

  • Ken February 11, 2013 (6:39 pm)

    @ Jason – EXACTLY!

    People are on surveillance cameras all the time when shopping, at the bank, some airports, buses, taxis, trains, office buildings, sport stadiums, homes, miscellaneous businesses, etc. Should not matter one iota the location of a surveillance camera – if someone is not doing anything wrong, they have nothing to be so afraid of. Doesn’t matter if the camera is in an enclosed structure or vehicle, or outside.

  • Mike February 11, 2013 (6:51 pm)

    Agree with Jason. I also don’t hear people freaking out about business security cams or real estate agents photographing and taking video then posting online, or news media showing live feed video, or news taking photos and posting online, and and and

  • wetone February 11, 2013 (6:57 pm)

    This is what I love about SPD and the Seattle City Council they spend the money first without doing the proper research. They install a system then see if they can use it after the fact or if it will work as they thought it would. In the end costing the taxpayers huge money on the legality issues and costs associated with their pet projects. McDonagh continues to say Port security Port security. When did SPD take over the Pugetsound and ports ? What happened to Coast Guard and the Port of Seattle police. He must not think much of the people of Seattle if he thinks we are to believe him. The more he speaks the more my trust issues grow. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by the way this city and state spends like drunken sailors. Lets see, drone project canceled, new transfer station major problems and huge cost overruns now and much more $$$ to fix the many problems, 520 floating bridge floats that are falling apart before there installed, same company is building the 14th ave bridge( South Park) major issues and cost overruns, Brightwater? sewer treatment project huge cost overruns. Now we have the Seawall, waterfront project and 99 tunnel. 2 Billion+ dollars has been and will be spent over the next couple years. Can you say tax hikes, a lot of this will be from total mismanagement.

  • cjboffoli February 11, 2013 (7:06 pm)

    I support Big Brother watching the creeps and thugs that make up too high a percentage of the people out on our streets and sidewalks these days. I really wish Big Brother had seen who slashed the throat of Gregette Guy along Harbor Ave. last year. And I wish they had been watching whoever killed that twenty-something woman randomly shot dead in Pioneer Square last year.

  • OrdinaryCitizen February 11, 2013 (7:25 pm)

    @Trigger: where does the homeland security $ bucket come from? I pay taxes.

  • Robert February 11, 2013 (7:31 pm)

    “If people aren’t doing things they shouldn’t be doing, then this really shouldn’t be an issue.”

    It is remarkable how easily some people will give up the rights so many have fought and died for. Jason’s statement might seem tough and no-nonsense, but it only shows that he never understood the right to privacy in the first place. The same goes for those who agree with him. Our legal system is based on the presumption of innocence. We aren’t supposed to be under constant surveillance in order to prove that we aren’t doing anything wrong.

    And Mike’s statement is demonstrably untrue. Many people who understand democracy have raised concerns about the loss of privacy all along. They don’t necessarily “freak out.” The best of them do their homework and then offer reasoned arguments.

  • Mike February 11, 2013 (7:34 pm)

    Wetone is right about most of thier post, but I think DHS footed the bill on these cams.

    • WSB February 11, 2013 (7:48 pm)

      Again, as noted earlier, and as noted in our second story on all this – Nearly $5 million federal dollars, from a Department of Homeland Security grant. SPD told me no additional staff members were included in the $ – though they had not yet decided which staff members would operate the cameras, etc.

  • flynlo February 11, 2013 (7:49 pm)

    Yes, the camera system was purchased with Homeland security money. What “strings” came with that money? Is the Homeland security dept. allowed to copy the video and use it at their leisure for whatever purpose they desire? I for one will not vote for any representative of government that will not step forward with a straight statement that describes their viewpoint on the system. Mayor McGinn – let’s start with you!

  • OrdinaryCitizen February 11, 2013 (7:56 pm)

    The issue of which government agency paid for the grant is not primary here. If you paid federal taxes, your $s contributed toward this intent of invasion of privacy. Even if you didn’t, as a citizen you have the right to comment about it.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man February 11, 2013 (7:58 pm)

    @cjboffoli: I am sorry for the loss of these two people. But even their great loss are not enough for me to so easily give up on the idea that we must not allow ourselves to devolve into a robotic, camera and drone Police State. Let’s take a little more responsibility for our OWN safety (perhaps even avoiding dark, secluded places on our own),and recognize that without tireless vigilance, the state will have a camera on every road, every intersection, every building. Ask yourself, is that what you REALLY want? I don’t. And I’m the most law abiding person you’ll ever meet.

  • Greg February 11, 2013 (8:03 pm)

    “It is remarkable how easily some people will give up the rights so many have fought and died for.”

    You can’t give up something you never had – a right to privacy in public. I bet the three women attacked in Green Lake and N. Seattle last night wish they’re “right to privacy” had been undermined and the perps caught on video tape so they could be apprehended.

  • GP February 11, 2013 (8:03 pm)

    Isn’t the idea of freedom, for a law abiding citizen,to live without the scrutiny of an ever watching eye. These cameras won’t stop the pull of a trigger, just record it. Why couldn’t they lease a small space for a couple bike cops and call it the alki precinct.

  • eric1 February 11, 2013 (8:08 pm)

    I am thoroughly amused at those who think “If I don’t do anything wrong, I won’t have a problem”
    How quickly you forget about WWII and the internment of Japanese Americans.
    Mr. Yamamoto, we have you on film watching Seattle for vulnerabilities on Sunday. Bringing you family to Alki was a great cover but you continually looked out over the water, scanning the Seattle waterfront for targets you could sabotage. We also have you taking pictures with some guests from Belevedere Viepoint. That gives you a wonderful view of Seattle defenses and the Coast Guard station doesn’t it? You also requested a window seat at Salty’s. During your meal you glanced up 10 times and with each glance there was a ferry near the dock. We have this all on video. We are taking you in for further questioning.
    Fictitious but it has happened before. In this case Mr. Yamamoto did nothing wrong either…..

  • anti-obstruction February 11, 2013 (8:22 pm)

    Robert is exactly right!
    For Jason and those who think similarly, your lackadaisical stance reminds me of a discussion I had with the Bushies who live across the street from my husband and me.
    During the zenith of the Bush cabal, we had a friendly discussion with them pertaining to the Patriot Act, Alberto Gonzales, civil liberties stripped away, ad nausem.
    Their complacent response was, essentially, “Go ahead, tap our phones, read our emails, we have nothing to hide!”
    I’ll bet they feel differently now that a Democrat is in the White House–and I bet they wouldn’t like it if I set up an obvious video camera pointed directly at their front door, watching their every arrival /departure/etc.
    To them, who hold their privacy so cheaply, I might say, “What’s the problem??? You’re not doing anything wrong, are you? My camera is for security purposes, I might just catch a thief in the act.”

  • sheepdog February 11, 2013 (8:42 pm)

    “Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.” ~Ron Paul

  • bs February 11, 2013 (8:48 pm)

    I suggest some of you whom are for this type of surveillance carefully read the below and educate yourself…….
    In the wake of 9/11, mass surveillance has become one of the U.S. government’s principal strategies for protecting national security. Over the past decade, the government has asserted sweeping power to conduct dragnet collection and analysis of innocent Americans’ telephone calls and e-mails, web browsing records, financial records, credit reports, and library records. The government has also asserted expansive authority to monitor Americans’ peaceful political and religious activities.
    But this government surveillance activity is not directed solely at suspected terrorists and criminals. It is directed at all of us. Increasingly, the government is engaged in warrantless surveillance that vacuums up sensitive information about innocent people. And this surveillance takes place in secret, with little or no oversight by the courts, by Congress, or by the public.

    Using their power to collect massive amounts of private communications and data, agencies like the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) apply computer programs to draw links and make predictions about people’s behavior. Tracking people two, three, four steps removed from the original surveillance target, they build “communities of interest” and construct maps of our associations and activities.

    With this sensitive data, the government can compile vast dossiers about innocent people. The data sits indefinitely in government databases, and the names of many innocent Americans end up on bloated and inaccurate watch lists that affect whether we can fly on commercial airlines, whether we can renew our passports, whether we are called aside for “secondary screening” at airports and borders, and even whether we can open bank accounts.

    Dragnet surveillance undermines the right to privacy and the freedoms of speech, association, and religion.

  • Robert February 11, 2013 (9:06 pm)


    Jason, Ken, and Mike made no such distinctions. Ken specifically mentions homes. Read their posts. Apparently they would have no objection to having the police kick down their doors at any hour of the day or night, rummage through their drawers, their closets, and their papers, with no reason other than that the police wanted to check up on them. After all, they’ve got nothing to hide, right?

    Imagine that happening. If it did, it would be clear that such “citizens” would be completely at the mercy of their government.

    As far as the notion of having no right to privacy in public goes, leaving the house doesn’t mean that you give up all your rights. The police can’t search you for no reason as you walk down the street. If we don’t have a legal right to walk through Lincoln park without being on camera, it’s time we worked to gain that right. It turns out that perhaps the process has already begun. Here’s a link to an article from Time that suggests that the right to privacy in public is being considered.,9171,2108038-1,00.html

  • sibby February 11, 2013 (9:39 pm)

    I don’t have a problem with cameras in public places. I think it makes for a safer environment where criminals will think twice before committing a crime. I think that is much more likely than the cameras being used to intern me in a prison camp! I think it’s a little paranoid to think that the police will be spying on us for reasons other than crime prevention.
    Also, I totally agree with Greg. There’s no right to that kind of privacy in public places.

  • Neighbor February 11, 2013 (9:55 pm)

    @eric1, well said, this is how it works. Groups around this country are being targeted by federal agencies with no justification, no warrants, no probable cause, and no commonsense reasonings, only to have their entire lives destroyed. It is persuasive post 9/11. Americans need to stop being afraid of one another. We the people must still resonate.

    Why on earth should we as citizens trust a police force that has been found to violate the Constitutional rights 3 out of 5 interactions with the citizens of Seattle. I hold close these rights, my family died to protect these rights for future generations.

    I have not found one study which proves these cameras actually prevent crime, not one. If anyone can provide a link to the contrary I’ll read it.

  • Ajax February 11, 2013 (10:14 pm)

    I’m not sure why the government even bothers. Based on what I currently observe on Facebook and Twitter, I’d say that within 10 years most people in the U.S. will voluntarily microchip themselves so that they can have automatic updates posted to their social media profiles. Privacy is soooo 20th century. (Seriously, how many idiot criminals give themselves away on Facebook?)

  • ordinaryCitizen February 11, 2013 (10:26 pm)

    I looked up an earlier discussion on this topic (Wikipedia) because someone had cited Katz vs. United States and that the issue was resolved.

    Here is an excerpt: Concurring opinion summarizes the essential holdings of the majority: “(a) that an enclosed telephone booth is an area where, like a home, and unlike a field, a person has a constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy; (b) that electronic as well as physical intrusion into a place that is in this sense private may constitute a violation of the Fourth Amendment; and (c) that an invasion of a constitutionally protected area by federal authorities is, as the Court has long held, presumptively unreasonable in the absence of a search warrant.” [3]
    If I lived near a camera, I would be very concerned that the cameras could/would look right into my home. This sounds a like a violation of the 4th Amendment.
    Now assuming this is correct, shouldn’t law enforcement know this?
    P.S. I like Eric1’s comment.

    • WSB February 11, 2013 (11:28 pm)

      I have received a flag questioning whether C&SVM’s comment veers into blaming the victims, in the 2 murder victims mentioned by CJB and then alluded to in C&SVM’s response. Victim-blaming is against our rules – it doesn’t seem like a clear-cut case here but for anyone not familiar with details of those two cases, there is no indication that either was killed in a “dark secluded place” – it may well have been light, for example, when Mrs. Guy encountered the person who killed her – no specific timeline has been described – and while Emma Schmitz Viewpoint – where it’s believed to have happened – was a bit hidden from the road (brush has been trimmed and lights added since her murder), it was by no means “secluded,” with an arterial just up a short slope, and homes nearby. Nicole Westbrook, meantime (NOT a West Seattle case), was killed by shots fired from a passing car, steps away from the Pioneer Square apartment she and her boyfriend shared. Just two points of clarification, since the concern was raised to us – TR

  • GP February 11, 2013 (11:22 pm)

    How about all the lawsuits from an alleged crime caught on tape that the court finds inconclusive? Who’s gonna pay for that?

  • 2 Much Whine February 12, 2013 (1:53 am)

    Strikes me as comical that this thread points out our outrage that the government is putting up surveillance cameras yet in the thread about the Estate Sale that was robbed at gunpoint, the getaway car was captured on surveillance equipment owned by a private citizen and many/most of the comments related to getting systems with higher resolution. What’s up with that? Why outrage at one but not the other?

  • AAR February 12, 2013 (7:28 am)

    I think part of the outrage is that the government put these cameras in place before vetting it with the public. Private surveillance cameras don’t need to be vetted by neighbors in order to operate them. Personally, I don’t have a problem with surveillance cameras in public areas….SO LONG AS they have been approved by the community (i.e. willing to pay for their installation and operation) BEFORE being installed. These were installed without prior communication – along with the fact that they are not near the ports they should be protecting – is suspicious, in my opinion.

  • Jordan February 12, 2013 (7:30 am)

    The outrage is simple. Those with private security cameras typically only review them if needed. The new cameras are going to be streamed to the police who can look for whatever they want, whether a known crime has been committed or not. So they are now looking for criminal behavior in everything you do. Drop a ATM receipt from your pocket when you grab your phone out? They will just mail you a $150 fine for littering. You picked the paper up? Well, they were looking at the next camera then and must have missed that. You get to try to prove that in court…

    What is all the more troubling, is that if you walk around and snap pictures of these cameras, you will very likely be hauled in as well. We no longer have the freedom to photograph what we want around cities, yet the police are trying to track our every move if we don’t stay sheltered in our own homes. I find it very troubling that others aren’t troubled by all of this.

  • ivan February 12, 2013 (7:50 am)

    @2 Much Whine:

    If you fail to understand the distinction between private citizens protecting their private property on the one hand, and your taxpayer-supported government agencies using your tax dollars and mine to spy on us for reasons that remain unclear, then you, and Jason, and Boffoli need to retake Civics 101.

    The Founders had a ready label for those of you who would have surrendered your civil liberties so readily in return for the illusion of safety and security, and submitted so meekly to authority. They called them Tories.

  • Phil Mocek February 12, 2013 (8:06 am)

    2MW: There is a big difference between a private citizen using a camera to do as he pleases in public and a fleet of government-owned cameras making a permanent government record of everything everyone does once he steps outside.

  • Come on February 12, 2013 (8:06 am)

    Actually the right to privacy did exist in public until a us supreme court case came along that changed everything. A police officer noticed a “suspicious” lookIng guy outside of a movie theater. Using his intuition he searched the man and found a handgun. The man had the intention of robbing the theater but had done nothing wrong up until that point other than the way he looked.

    From that point on, the right to privacy in public has slowly eroded to the point where we are today. Where you essentially have no right to privacy anywhere except in your home. That is called mission creep.

    I would encourage you to go read the dissent of that supreme court decision. The justices in the dissent clearly state that the police officer had no right under our constitution to search the individual just because he didn’t like the way he looked. And they basically say that if we want the police to be able to do that then fine but we need to change the constitution.

    But individual rights versus the state have been eroding for well over a century. And from the Warren court to the Rehnquist court and now to the Roberts court it is becoming clear that the only place held sacred by the is supreme court is one’s home. And now there are people who have no prOblem with a camera in an area where it can be rotated to look at people’s homes??????

    Don’t give away your rights for a false sense of security. We will never have more cameras than what is London and their cameras did nothing to prevent the terror attacks on their transit system.

  • Come on February 12, 2013 (8:14 am)

    2 Much whine,

    I cant speak for the other people but there is a very big difference for me. One set of cameras is controlled by a private citizen on land that they own and I know who is watching the footage. The other set of cameras is controlled by the government which means I have no idea who in the government controls it on land that we all own and I have no idea who is watching the footage.

  • Phil Mocek February 12, 2013 (8:35 am)

    I don’t care much about who is watching; I care about the stockpiling of information about the travels of all the good people in an attempt to catch the few bad people.

  • BJ February 12, 2013 (9:45 am)

    On the news (don’t remember which station) they showed the view from one of the cameras on Alki. You could clearly see the condos, the decks on the condos and houses on Alki. If the cameras can move or zoom in, those residences have lost way too much privacy. The news then showed the view from the camera where the homes and condos would be “blocked out” Really? Hard to believe the city or govt. would take the time to black out that portion of all the photos or video. Maybe if the camera could only see Alki Ave SW, the beach and the water I’d believe their intentions. But if I lived down there I’d be livid at what those cameras can see.

    • WSB February 12, 2013 (9:52 am)

      The “blacked out” demonstration was from this Seattle Police video in their SPD Blotter post on February 4th, linked in the story we ran that day with the long version of our interview with the assistant chief.
      Most if not all of the cameras that have been put up so far in West Seattle are within view of residences. Fauntleroy ferry dock, Beach/63rd, the one by the Statue of Liberty Plaza, the one by the Shoremont Apartments further east on Alki, the one by Duwamish Head, the one across from Seacrest … not entirely sure from memory if the one near Salty’s has a residential view.

  • wetone February 12, 2013 (10:10 am)

    One by Salty’s is across street from water and looks at the trees on water side. Little view of water.

  • Greg February 12, 2013 (10:24 am)

    Climate change – heads in sand. Rapid and unabated loss of biodiversity and species extinction – goes unnoticed by 99% of America. Long term financial health of the nation – no one has a plan and we lack political will. Education, or lack thereof in our schools. Gun violence run rampant. Erosion of basic economic underpinnings of our growth economy and resultant income disparity. Lack of functional immigration approach. No real plan to address social/societal underpinnings of radical terrorist organizations.

    I have no bandwidth to be all worked up about cameras on a busy avenue with a high likelihood for crime. We will be lost for many other reasons before the police have time, energy and the will to be preying on innocent citizens.

  • stephanie February 12, 2013 (11:57 am)

    Oh lord. This is a public place. Stop being paranoid! When they want to put cameras in your house then you can get paranoid. Gee whiz people!

  • CE February 12, 2013 (12:10 pm)

    You must not live down on Alki. People are not being paranoid. There are legitimate concerns and you would have an understanding of what some of them are if you’ve been reading through all the comments and looking at the links that have been posted.

  • anti-obstruction February 12, 2013 (1:31 pm)

    Well said, Ivan!

  • D February 12, 2013 (2:03 pm)

    To cjboffoli, who wishes a camera had recorded who slashed the throat of Gregette Guy and who killed the young woman in Pioneer Square, I instead wish a police officer had been there to prevent such deaths.

  • sarelly February 12, 2013 (3:16 pm)

    Yet another reason to stay home, and remain indoors at all times. If you want privacy at home, pull down the shades, stay off the internet, and don’t have any body heat. Google my address and you’ll find a satellite photograph of me taken without my knowledge or consent. We’re already under constant surveillance, which is not to say we should collude with more of the same. Facebook much?

  • Wet Head February 12, 2013 (4:53 pm)

    I hope none of the anti-camera people has the following:
    a) ski mask
    b) paint gun

    I’d hate to think what could happen.

  • ordinaryCitizen February 12, 2013 (8:38 pm)

    I have started to write to the councilmembers cited as voting for this program asking for their reasoning. I also will request that the mayor and the SPD give a presentation/explanation/justification here in West Seattle. Please support this so we can find out more about their thought process. A lot of them are running for positions again and we should understand their thinking.

    • WSB February 12, 2013 (8:51 pm)

      OC – I also have a request for comment out to CM Bruce Harrell, who chairs the committee – no response or acknowledgment so far. But we’ll keep working on it.

  • ordinaryCitizen February 12, 2013 (9:41 pm)

    Thank you WSB! I wouldn’t have known about this important issue if not for your good work.

  • James Day February 13, 2013 (9:13 am)

    For me the name of the game is transparency. If I am going to allow any public service agency to collect private information (yes, that includes my image)then I expect there to be a well established social, legal and ethical process to review who, how and what limitations are placed on the use of those images. There is way too much secrecy around government spying and what information is now being taken, or how it will be used in the future. The continued prosecution of whistleblowers by the justice department shows a systematic effort at the federal level to suppress public access to information collected by government workers, supposedly performing public duties. Now with the executive authority to execute anyone with no due process or accountability. How long before drones can fire a bullet and drop a body without any evidence, as if they couldn’t already? Having worked for federal law enforcement myself, the mentality was already there ten years ago, now they have the technology.

Sorry, comment time is over.