Thursday, November 29, 2001

Court Ordered Home Video Cameras

Privacy concerns can be seen in many places on the internet. There are watchdog groups online like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center which provide a great amount of information about pending legal actions and concerns centering on privacy. Protecting your identity, your online habits, your credit, and credit card information are all valid considerations, and these groups are working hard to try and find safeguards for that type of information.

But what about our privacy offline? How about a map of Manhattan that can help you plan a trip through the streets along a route with the least amount of surveillance cameras? There is one online:

"iSee is a web-based application charting the locations of closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras in urban environments. With iSee, users can find routes that avoid these cameras -­ paths of least surveillance -­ allowing them to walk around their cities without fear of being 'caught on tape' by unregulated security monitors."

Then again, how do you avoid cameras if a judge orders them placed within your house? A divorced couple in New Jersey, involved in a visitation dispute, with allegations of abuse, have had a Family Court Judge order that video cameras be placed in every room of their homes, except the bathrooms. The request was made by one of the parties asking that the other have video installed. The other party agreed on the condition that both houses get wired for video. The Judge agreed to the request, and then when the original party tried to back out of the agreement, the Judge refused to let them. The cameras have not been installed yet.

Is this an invasion of privacy? Or is it a legitimate method of insuring that a child doesn't get harmed? The answer will come from a New Jersey appellate court judge.
-William Slawski

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