Sneaky surveillance - Page 3

SFPD has been quietly seeking video footage of new bars since losing a public fight over the issue


Shyy said SFPD will "only request them when a crime has been committed," but he also admitted that the conditions it is requesting on liquor licenses don't set that limit and the policy hasn't been reviewed by the Police Commission or other local oversight bodies.

ABC spokesperson John Carr told us his department doesn't have a position on video surveillance and hasn't tracked whether other jurisdictions are seeking the condition. As for whether it routinely includes SFPD's recommended conditions, he said, "ABC reviews each application on a case by case basis."

There are indications that SFPD sometimes resorts to bullying bar owners into turning over video surveillance without legal authority to do so. Jamie Zawinski with DNA Lounge last month blogged about Officer Simon Chan telling the club that it was required to keep video footage and turn it over upon request, which club operators informed the SFPD wasn't true. "It's just another sneaky, backdoor regulation that ABC and SFPD have been foisting on everyone without any kind of judicial oversight, in flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment," Zawinski wrote.

Regarding that incident, Shyy would only confirm that most bars aren't yet required to keep and turn over video footage. And he said SFPD will cooperate with the hearing Campos and Wiener have called. "At this point, we don't believe we're violating people's constitutional rights, but we're willing to have that discussion," Shyy said.

Wiener said that on April 3, he discussed the issue with Police Chief Greg Suhr, who indicated a willingness to cooperate with public hearings on the policy. But Wiener said he's bothered by the fact that SFPD seems to have put this new policy in place right after being unsuccessful in doing this through a public process in 2011.

"I and others expressed opposition to this and I and others thought the Police Department had backed away from it," Wiener said at the April 4 hearing, noting that "I'm not philosophically opposed to surveillance," only with how SFPD instituted it. "I have an issue with the Police Department deciding to insert this on its own without a broader policy discussion."


What is the mechanism behind this irony? Is it like the phenomenon of Democrats voting for imperialist wars?

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 4:55 am

Up next: random retina scans linked to databanks with names and addresses of 'undesirables', and available to LEO 24/7

Posted by pete moss on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 5:56 am

I'm sure my location is recorded on CCTV many times each day. My cell phone effectively triangulates my location constantly, my car has GPS which does the same, and my Clipper card reveals my use of transit. I often have to show ID to enter office buildings, while my own work ID records when I am at the office, and when not.

Ask me why I don't care. Answer: I am not doing anything bad, wrong or suspicious.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 6:04 am

Your an idiot, maybe a cop, and certainly you do things that can be said to be wrong everyday. just need the right agency to watch you. Your body is natural, do you run around naked just because you have nothing to be ashamed of. Your an idiot. An UN-AMERICAN as can be. Privacy is a right. Its not attached anymore to doing right than gun rights are attached to being a hunter. Its a right in the USA.

Posted by Guest guest surveilence on Jun. 03, 2013 @ 10:05 pm

I wouldn't mind some random anal probes. I'd be the first to bend over in the name of state security. If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.

Posted by anon on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 6:17 am

Absolutely nothing wrong with that as a personal activity.

My problem is that anon seems to not only fantasize about his own anal penetration, but that of all his fellow(?) citizens. That crosses the line.

Big Troll Trope #15 is that non-criminals have nothing to fear from police attention. Nobody in their right mind believes that.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

I've never had a problem with LE.

Posted by anon on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

for taking the lead on this.

I question the stance that somebody has an expectation of privacy if they go into a gay bar and get outed. But be that as it may, I don't think that this is necessarily even a question of whether the SFPD "can" do this, but whether it "should." Big Brother creep is very troubling to me, and I find the argument "oh, well if you aren't doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about" to be the weakest of sauces.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 11:18 am

I agree, and there's another sneaky aspect to this that I might not have emphasized strongly enough in my article, but which I will in a follow-up blog post that I'm working on now. The SFPD is requiring businesses to keep footage of the street scenes outside their stores and to make that immediately available for any reason and with no warrant. That's a huge departure from the safeguards attached to the 71 crime cameras that the city installed, and a major expansion of the SFPD's ability to spy on us without any judicial or regulatory oversight.

Posted by steven on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 11:29 am

investigation into activities that happen right outside the store?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 11:41 am able to require a store to spy on its customers and give police unfettered access to footage with no court oversight? That's the issue here. Businesses already have the right to use video surveillance and cooperate with police if they choose. But not everyone shares your faith in the police to always do the right thing and safeguard civil liberties. Some of us know our history.

Posted by steven on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

you do not think they should co-operate with a police inquiry into crimes in and around their premises?

Is that it?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

Yes, I think Airbnb should follow the law and charge required taxes on the economic transactions it conducts, which is certainly less invasive than expecting each host to be responsible for collecting and paying that tax. And yes, I think businesses should cooperate with lawful criminal investigations, which should in no way be hindered by basic Fourth Amendment protections (such as getting a warrant when necessary) or guidelines for requesting surveillance video that the city established in 2005. What does that have to do with requiring more businesses to conduct video surveillance on their customers and surroundings and turn it over to police with no rules or guidelines?

Posted by steven on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

camera's everywhere and you would be filmed dozens of times a day.

Many criminals have been caught that way, including rapists and murderers, and there is little complaint about it from the ordinary innocent person - indeed, it makes them feel safer.

I'm sorry that you do not like the argument but it really is true that I do not fear being "spied" upon because I know I am doing no wrong. I cannot say that for others and so do want them spied upon.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 11:34 am

Citizens of London don't have a constitutional right to privacy like we have in California. And England wasn't founded on principles of personal liberty and a wariness of government power like the US was, by people like Benjamin Franklin, who said, "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Posted by steven on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

After all, you think the constitutional right to bear arms is questionable, right?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

Hi, thanks for sharing.

Posted by dog trainer on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 1:25 am

Many criminals have been caught every day. Security cameras and surveillance system has improved our security. Actually Surveillance is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information. These can even allow the Remote viewing of your business from anywhere.

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