UPDATE - June 6, 2012 - After a second reading and with no discussion, today the City Council approved the proposal relating to surveillance cameras. Commissioner Fritz voted no on the proposal, citing concerns that unless the rest of the Council would join her in adopting an amendment to the proposal that would require annual reporting on the use of surveillance cameras by the Portland Police, she could not support their increased use. We continue to advocate for the Portland Police Bureau to revise their video surveillance policy in accordance with our comments.
June 4, 2012 - After delaying a May 9th vote that would enable increased use of surveillance cameras in Portland, the City Council is set to finally approve the proposal this Wednesday. The specifics of the proposal have to do with liability for private property owners during installation of cameras on their property, but the implications are much broader. Easing the owners’ concerns about liability will enable the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to install and monitor in real-time their own cameras on private buildings. This means more cameras and more public spaces in Portland under surveillance.
Over the past month, the ACLU has joined allies such as Portland Copwatch to object to this proposal. The result is that, while the City Council will not refuse to allow more cameras in Portland, it has directed PPB to craft a policy for their use that takes into account the privacy rights of those who might be taped. PPB released the draft policy on May 29. The ACLU submitted comments on June 1. All members of the public are encouraged to provide comments to the PPB by clicking on feedback link here.