St. Louis Board of Aldermen to take up surveillance camera reforms

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ST. LOUIS – A movement is underway among St. Louis aldermen to protect the privacy of citizens who are photographed by city surveillance cameras.

Hundreds of street cameras are all over the city that are connected to the St. Louis Police Real Time Crime Center. Police credit them in part for leading to hundreds of arrests and the recovery of stolen items.

At a news conference at St. Louis City Hall, a group of aldermen and activists said they were not opposed to surveillance cameras but want them used in a fair way. And they want to know who has control over the video, how it is used and how long it is kept.

"A lot of the complaints I get are from people who simply live next to a park that have cameras and drive through the streets and want to make sure the data that their city is collecting on them is used in a fair way," said Alderwoman Cara Spencer (20th Ward).

Members of the ACLU of Missouri and Privacy Watch STL also attended Friday’s news conference in support of more regulations of surveillance cameras.

Rev. Darryl Gray, Ethical Society of Police, said he supports more regulation of surveillance cameras.

“This is more than just a bill. The impact on this can affect how we deal with social justice and social change is this city,” he said. “We believe that it is meant to intimidate and to deter activists and elected officials from aggressively supporting social change in this city."

The bill is expected to be introduced into the St. Louis Board of Aldermen within the next two weeks.

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