WASHINGTON – Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., said Wednesday he anticipates more effective use of closed circuit televisions for security purposes if the House adopts a Senate-passed amendment on the matter.
Lieberman’s amendment – accepted by voice vote as part of the FY2008 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill – would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a national strategy for closed circuit TVs to guide the Department and state and local governments toward more effective and appropriate use of CCTV.
“As repeatedly demonstrated in London, closed circuit television cameras, or CCTV, can be invaluable in tracking and apprehending terror suspects,” Lieberman said. “A national strategy for CCTV use would help officials at the federal, state and local levels use CCTV systems effectively to protect citizens, while at the same time making sure that appropriate civil liberties protections are implemented for the use of cameras and recorded data.”
The amendment comes during a time of heightened awareness of the global terrorist threat following two thwarted terrorist attempts in London and Glasgow on June 30th. London has a widespread surveillance network that has been credited with helping prevent crime and catching a number of terrorists over the years.
The Lieberman amendment would:
Authorize a national strategy to improve the implementation of CCTV;
Require an assessment of how closed circuit television and other public surveillance systems can be used most effectively to prevent, prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks;
Call for best practices on camera use and data storage;
Require a plan for DHS to coordinate with state and local governments and the private sector; and
Require an assessment of privacy and civil liberties concerns raised by the use of CCTV and other surveillance systems.
According to a July 29 ABC News/Washington Post poll, 71 percent of Americans support the increased use of surveillance cameras.