Alice Lipowicz
Washington Technology
May 13, 2008

Privacy advocates are applauding the recent decision by a key committee of the District of Columbia Council to eliminate nearly $900,000 in proposed funding for consolidating the operations of 5,200 city surveillance cameras.

Mayor Adrian Fenty unveiled the Video Interoperability for Public Safety program a month ago to connect the city’s surveillance cameras to a single network with an advanced monitoring system to assist in prevention of and response to crimes, terrorism and other emergencies. He requested the $900,000 in funding for fiscal 2009.

But the D.C. Council’s Public Safety and Judiciary Committee recently withheld $886,000 for the project and is planning a public hearing later this month to examine the proposal. Privacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), support those decisions.

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