ACLU of LA slams City Council’s ‘government surveillance on steroids’ proposal

(Photo by Miles Willis/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS – The ACLU of Louisiana is taking a strong stance against a proposal to expand the City of New Orleans’ surveillance system into every bar and grocery store.

New Orleans City Council ordinance 32-107 would require all business that sell alcohol to install exterior surveillance cameras that would store footage on a cloud-based government server owned by the city, according to the ACLU.

The constitutional rights to privacy, personal autonomy, and freedom of association of every citizen of New Orleans would be trampled by the proposal, according to the ACLU.

The idea of greatly expanding the city’s surveillance capability has been met with concern by the Office of Independent Police Monitor, as well as criminologists, who point out that similar proposals have proven ineffective.

“This ordinance would put the city’s surveillance apparatus on steroids, subjecting New Orleanians to near-constant monitoring of their daily lives and stifling our vibrant public spaces – without meaningfully reducing crime,” ACLU of Louisiana interim executive director Jane Johnson said. “This kind of pervasive government surveillance system has been shown to be both ineffective and susceptible to abuse, raising serious constitutional concerns for privacy and undermining trust with the community. We urge members of the City Council to reject this dangerous expansion of government surveillance and pursue more sensible solutions for keeping our streets safe.”