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ACLU Upset With Possible Surveillance Camera Network in Charleston

Gil McClanahan
Friday Aug 24, 2007

CHARLESTON -- For months, the city of has been talking about installing cameras around town, but the American Civil Liberties Union says it could be too much like Big Brother.

The city hopes the cameras will help officers spot criminal activity and possibly stop it. City Council is now looking at ways to prevent abuses of the surveillance cameras and how to pay for them.

The idea is getting mixed reviews.

"We believe the surveillance cameras are ineffective and costly," says Andrew Schneider, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia.

Others in the city like the idea.

"I think it will be a great idea, because lots of things that's done is unseen that can be seen by the cameras," says James Hamilton of Charleston.

City leaders are still working out the details for putting the network in place including paying for it and addressing concerns.

Schneider says more police are needed instead of more cameras, adding the network infringes on people's right to privacy.

Others don't see it that way.

"If you're not doing anything wrong you shouldn't worry about being watched," said Bev Steele of Charleston.

Schneider admits the network will probably become a reality in Charleston, so the ACLU is working with city leaders on safeguards to make sure the network is not abused.

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