Governing Body Approval
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.
- Have elected leaders had the opportunity to host, or participate in, the public forums that every community should hold when considering new surveillance infrastructure?
- Have elected leaders become familiar with how the technology under consideration works?
- Have elected leaders had the opportunity to review, revise, and approve legally-binding use policies for the technology under consideration?
- Has the governing body held hearings to determine the financial costs and weigh the risks of acquiring technology in order to gather public input?
- Will elected leaders have the opportunity to vote to approve or reject the acquisition of the technology?
- Will elected leaders have the opportunity to vote to approve or reject any changes to the use policies, any upgrades, or any ongoing costs?
Examples of Use
- Location::Portland, ORSurveillance camera plan rejected due to unanswered questions
In 2012, police in Portland, Oregon, sought city commission approval to institute a new video surveillance program in the city’s historic Old Town and Chinatown neighborhoods, insisting that these areas were hotbeds of illegal drug deals and occasional violent crimes. Under the program, private businesses would contract with the police department to install cameras at no cost, and officers would be able to access the video feeds of these cameras from their smartphones. However, the department was not yet able to say how many cameras would be installed and where, or to articulate exactly how the video feeds would (or would not) be monitored. Some community members objected that while the cameras could pose a significant risk to the privacy of people walking down the street, evidence was lacking that they would actually be effective in deterring crime. One commissioner raised concerns that that the ordinance approving the program would conflict with existing privacy law. Ultimately, the commission rejected the program, telling the department to return to the drawing board to address the questions that had been raised.