ACLU-WA Comment on Proposal to Use CCTV Cameras, an Acoustic Gunshot Detection System, and Real-Time Crime Center Software to Surveil Seattle Neighborhoods

News Release: 
Monday, February 12, 2024
SEATTLE – The City is holding a public comment period from February 5, 2024 to February 29, 2024 to receive feedback on a proposal to install CCTV cameras and an acoustic gunshot detection system in city neighborhoods and to deploy real-time crime center software. The proposal appears to be on an expedited timeline with minimal time allotted for gathering public comment and for analyzing impacts to race equity.

Tee Sannon, Ph.D., ACLU-WA technology policy program director, had this comment:

“It is disappointing that the city is trying to rush ineffective and dangerous gunshot detection technology to Seattle’s streets, along with closed-circuit tv and real-time crime center technologies that have the potential to violate privacy and undermine civil liberties. Such extensive surveillance systems chill free speech, deter free association, fuel racial disparity in policing, and provide a false sense of security at the cost of privacy and race equity.

Given these risks, it is crucial that communities that are disproportionately impacted by these technologies have their voices and concerns heard. We are deeply concerned that the city has provided less than a month and only two hearings for public comment. We call on the city to slow down and meaningfully engage the public in the surveillance ordinance’s mandated review process.”
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