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Ballard waterfront cameras to be installed for maritime surveillance

Posted by Meghan Walker on February 5th, 2013

Seattle Police are installing a network of 30 waterfront surveillance cameras, and some of those will be in Ballard. The cameras in Ballard will be designed to “monitor the maritime area,” Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh told King 5. While the cameras won’t be monitored around the clock, they’ll record up to 30 days of footage, which then will be used for maritime security or to capture crime evidence. The cameras in residential areas have “masking” features which are used to protect residents’ privacy. “We actually put a physical device inside the camera so if the camera were to turn toward the residential area, it just sees a dark shape,” McDonagh told King 5.

Regardless of these masking features, spokesman Doug Honig from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington sees it as unnecessary government intervention, as he told our news partners, The Seattle Times. “This is another step toward a surveillance society where the government is increasingly using technology to monitor people’s actions and movements without having a warrant or a specific reason to do so,” Honig told the Times.

The cameras in Ballard will be placed in Golden Gardens, and will go live on March 31. The Seattle Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Seattle Fire will all have access to the footage. Funding for the camera system comes from a $5 million federal grant intended to increase the Port of Seattle and city’s ability to respond to hazards and emergencies, as SPD Capt. Chris Fowler told the Times.

We’re looking into information about the exact camera placements and how the Golden Garden cameras could have an impact on crime reduction in the park. We’ll update with any new information.

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