April 18, 2013

Surveillance cameras are everywhere – in stores, restaurants and on street corners. And since cameras were key in spotting the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, at least one federal lawmaker wants to see even more, saying it’s not an invasion of privacy.

“Privacy involves being in a private location,” said Congressman Peter King, a Republican from New York. “Being out in the street, there’s not an expectation of privacy.”

An estimated 30 million cameras have been installed in the past 10 years across the U.S. Some people say that’s plenty.

“Do you want to live in a society where every single thing you do is monitored all the time?” said Justin Brookman with the Center for Democracy and Technology. “Monitored, judged, accessed, and recorded?”

The city of Miami installed its own cameras about three years ago and could see everything from Miami Police headquarters. The idea then was to catch criminals in the act or on the run. They are not recording anything now, but the Miami Police Department is working on getting their cameras back up and running on three streets.

Former U.S. Attorney Lilly Ann Sanchez told NBC 6 that cameras rolling on your every move in public is perfectly legal. That includes ones operated by the government, but those should be treated a little differently, she said.

“They need to have a very specific and narrow purpose if they’re going to be used,” Sanchez said. “If they do not have the purpose which is to secure the citizens, then they should not be allowed.”

Sanchez also said that in the state of Florida, you can take photos and video of someone all you want in public, but you cannot record any audio without someone’s permission in a public place.