Earlier today, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General issued a report finding that the Office of Emergency Management and Communications was not able to guarantee that only approved personnel had accessed the City’s widespread surveillance camera system. This makes clear that the public’s privacy has been at risk for the many years that this system has been in operation. The report confirms that the City’s system is pervasive and powerful, raising further concerns about lack of oversight and a publicly-adopted privacy policy.
The following can be attributed to Edwin C. Yohnka, Director of Communications and Public Policy for the ACLU of Illinois:
"This report is disturbing but not surprising. Nearly six years ago, the ACLU called on the City to debate and adopt a set of privacy principles for the burgeoning surveillance camera system – including a detailed privacy policy, strict rules regarding who has access to the system and public reporting requirements on adherence to these policies.
Today’s report shows that OEMC cannot even guarantee that only those who have authorization used and manipulated surveillance cameras. In short, we do not know if individuals within OEMC or CPD have used the cameras to invade individual’s privacy or hide police misconduct.
Until the City gets control of this problem, there should be a moratorium on new cameras.
Other cities have adopted public standards for the use of their surveillance camera systems. It is time for the City Council to act."