Is Private Surveillance Camera Registration 1984?


Is privacy dead?
Is privacy dead?

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) wants to have all private surveillance cameras registered. Included information would include the following- The owner’s name, contact information, camera location, number of cameras installed, areas recorded and how the footage is saved. Why did the assemblyman propose this bill? He thinks that by registering these cameras law enforcement would be able to determine if there was coverage of an area where a crime has occurred, who and how to obtain the surveillance from.

It does sound a little like the government looking over your shoulder and an intrusion into your privacy. Maybe even somewhat like George Orwell’s novel “1984” where the government watches you through your television. Is this Big Brother putting his nose where it does not belong or a tool that would help solve crimes?

Well I think that the assemblyman means well, but it is most definitely an intrusion by a government entity into the private affairs of its citizens. It is one thing to be asked by the police to see if your surveillance system would provide the info they need to solve a crime and another to be told you have to mandatorily register your system. While this is an intrusion into your private life, is it worth the invasion of the government into what are really a citizen’s personal rights.

If there was a private surveillance camera present when Michael Brown had his run-in with Officer Darren Wilson the riots may not have taken place. So there are justified reasons for having the cameras registered, except that what about the rights of the surveillance camera owners? The police should first ask if you will give them access or if not they would have to get a warrant to access your private surveillance system, that is the way the justice system works.

What happens in England is a bit different than most places in that the police can access private surveillance cameras as well as their own. The laws there are not as liberal as here and especially when talking about civil liberties, which is probably why the police can access private cameras. Should we emulate them and allow the police to access private surveillance cameras, or continue to require the owner’s permission and if permission is not given require a warrant?

I would hope that we continue on the path we are on and preserve our civil liberties. We must prevent the erosion of these liberties or we will slide toward a version of George Orwell’s “1984” and that is very a scary thing to contemplate. Unfortunately some cities are allowing this to happen right here in America, they have laws similar to the one proposed for here. Both Philadelphia Pennsylvania and New Orleans are the ones are am referring to.

The use of private surveillance cameras to help solve crimes is a good thing, but to require the registration of these cameras is very problematic. The police will already canvas the area around the scene of a crime and can see/ask if there any cameras present. So would such a law as proposed a necessity or just a dumb idea?

That is my opinion – Jumpin Jersey Mike
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