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Shrugging Off Big Brother Concerns, City Will Install Surveillance Network With Federal Grant
09/16/2004
Image of LiveWave Inc. surveillance system The City of Pittsburgh has received a nearly $500,000 grant from the Justice Department to begin installation of a network of computer-controlled security cameras in neighborhoods across the city, part of federal anti-terrorism initiatives that have seen even larger camera networks installed in New York City, Washington DC and Chicago.

Some Pittsburgh City Council members were worried about privacy implications of the extensive camera network, but City Operations director Bob Kennedy shrugged those concerns off, saying that the network would be used mainly for massive emergencies, like the evacuation of Downtown on September 11th 2001, and would not be a "Big Brother" monitoring network.

In DC, installation of a similar network of cameras 2 years ago met extensive scrutiny by local elected officials, who demanded specific criteria for the camera network's use and argued that internal Police Department policy was insufficient. For example, guidelines suggested that police might record over any material after 72 hours, although they did not require that step.

Pittsburgh's City Council has yet to set any specific guidelines or legislation for the use of the camera network.

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