2006 Archive

Report on Video Surveillance Sets Guidelines for Officials

A report addressing how communities can balance the security value of modern video surveillance with the need to protect core constitutional rights and liberties will be released today by the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at Boalt and the Constitution Project, based in Washington, D.C. The report, titled Guidelines for Public Video Surveillance: A Guide to Protecting Communities and Preserving Civil Liberties covers a range of issues, including privacy and anonymity, free speech and association, government accountability, and equal protection.

The Samuelson report will be featured at a morning-long panel on surveillance issues hosted by the law offices of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson in Washington, D.C. on May 24.

Early next month, Samuelson Clinic Director Professor Deirdre Mulligan is expected to address issues related to both privacy in public and matters raised in the Constitution Project's report when she testifies before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Privacy Advisory Board on June 7. The Samuelson Clinic is also finalizing model legislation for release later this summer based on the surveillance report.

The 60-page video surveillance document sets forth parameters for local and state officials charged with authorizing, designing and managing public video surveillance systems. It focuses on principles governing the creation and design of public video surveillance systems, procedures to ensure that public officials remain accountable for long-term and temporary surveillance operations, and guidelines for using public video surveillance systems and protecting data collected from misuse.

Samuelson Clinic students Tara Wheatland '06, David C. Yang '06, and Peter Maybarduk '07, provided important research and writing assistance. Will T. DeVries '04, a former clinic student and currently an associate with the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, lent his expertise in law and technology to drafting the guidelines portion of the report.

The Constitution Project is a nonprofit organization specializing in creating bipartisan consensus on a variety of legal and governance issues. "Guidelines for Public Video Surveillance" is part of the Constitution Project's Liberty and Security Initiative, launched in 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11.