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Thursday, 10 February 2011 09:00

Mayor Defends Chicago's Widespread Camera Surveillance

Written by reported on Feb. 8 that Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is defending the city’s use of surveillance cameras. On Tuesday, the Mayor rejected the demands of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which had called for the city to stop adding cameras to its network.

The advocacy group had asked that authorities be required to have probable cause to “zoom in” on people, stating that it’s an invasion of privacy. Daley replied that it would be impractical to ask a judge to find probable cause before zooming in:

[Call] a judge who’s sleeping tonight, at 2 o’clock in the morning, and say "Judge, we have probable cause, the person is walking down 22nd Street." By the time we get there the person’s already at Halsted Street.

The ACLU claims that the surveillance tactics use facial recognition and tracking of a person’s movement, but the city’s Office of Emergency Management denied the use of facial recognition software, saying that the cameras track only objects, not people. The OEM statement did not explain how objects could be tracked without tracking people.

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