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Comments on Proposed Video Surveillance Regulations

Please send your name, affiliation (if any), and comments to cameras@epic.org by 12:00 noon EDT on Thursday, July 27, 2002. If you are a resident of Washington, D.C., please indicate this as it is of special interest to the City Council members.

Suggested comments are provided below. Feel free to cut and paste these comments and modify as needed, or write your own comments.

We will compile, print out and send your comments to the D.C. City Council. Your e-mail address will be kept private, and any other personal information that you provide (such as name, address, etc.) will not be disclosed to anyone but the intended recipients.

Suggested comments:

Dear Councilmembers,

I write to urge the Council not to allow Washington, D.C. to become the Capital of a new system of surveillance. The prospect of surveillance cameras watching the public spaces and public demonstrations will chill free expression. We have a right to privacy in public spaces, especially when technology can enable covert surveillance so that information about who I meet in public, the places I visit, and the demonstrations I participate in are routinely recorded and monitored by law enforcement and others. Like with wiretapping, there needs to be strong legal protections against such snooping.

There are also serious questions about how effective the technology is as a crime-fighting tool. Please consider appointing an independent commission to evaluate the use of this new technology and the experiences of other jurisdictions before you accept their presence in Washington and before you spend a significant amount of public funds.

Finally I hope the legislation you are considering will impose serious limitations on the use of the technology and will ensure that there is a robust means of independent oversight. Thank you for providing this opportunity for sharing my views.

[insert name]

Useful links:

D.C. City Council Notice
EPIC's testimony from the June 13 D.C. City Council hearing
Draft Surveillance Regulations

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