The ACLU of Illinois has long been concerned about use of surveillance cameras by Chicago law enforcement - particularly the use of cameras with increasingly sophisticated technology, including the ability to zoom in and track an individual's movements. Senior Staff Attorney Adam Schwartz spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times about the installation of new red-light cameras with a 360 degree panning technology:
Adam Schwartz, a senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said the Chicago Police Department should only use the 360-degree panning technology when there’s “suspicion of criminal activity.”
That means police should not track individuals on the street unless they’re searching for a “particular suspect,” Schwartz said.
“There is a mission creep. These cameras that were put up for the purpose of traffic enforcement now have 360-capability, which is not part of traffic enforcement, but is for other purposes,” he said.
“Where we go says a lot about who we are. Whether we’re going to the union meeting, to see a criminal defense lawyer or to worship, we need safeguards to ensure that the government isn’t using these ever-expanding camera systems to monitor what people are doing.”