(WSB photo from 2013: One of the camera/”wireless mesh” installations on Alki)
When the city installed federally funded surveillance cameras almost six years ago – starting on Alki – the concern was as much about the fact the installation was unannounced and (until we followed up on readers’ questions) unexplained, as it was about the cameras themselves. The cameras were eventually deactivated and, earlier this year, removed. Along the way, city leaders promised to be clearer about what and how would be used in the future – by all departments, not just SPD. As part of the process, a comment period has just opened for six of 29 “currently existing surveillance technologies” covered by the city Surveillance Ordinance, passed last year. And that will include a meeting in West Seattle. Full details are in this post, which explains:
… 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 Monday, October 8, and runs through Monday, November 5. … 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 … 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.
The West Seattle meeting – which will focus on License Plate Readers, Traffic Cameras, Emergency Scene Cameras, and HazMat Cameras – is scheduled for 5 to 6:30 pm Thursday, October 25th,
at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW). You can find out more about the city’s surveillance technologies and rules by going here.
OCTOBER 17 UPDATE: The location has been changed to American Legion Post 160, 3618 SW Alaska.