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NCJ Number: 228916 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Pole Cameras and Surreptitious Surveillance
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:78  Issue:11  Dated:November 2009  Pages:23-32
Author(s): M. Wesley Clark, J.D., LL.M.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 10
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the use of pole video cameras as an investigative technique within the parameters of the fourth amendment.
Abstract: Even though affixing a video camera to a utility pole can be an effective surveillance technique, especially in circumstances where physical surveillance is operationally impractical, when used by the government, it becomes a sensitive issue. This article examines the question as to whether the government is interfering with a person's expectation of privacy based on the fourth amendment. As a general rule observations of a person's comings and goings by law enforcement that are neither inside a dwelling nor within a curtilage do not constitute either a fourth amendment search or seizure. Yet, liability concerns have led some utilities to request a court order from law enforcement before permitting the installation and operation of pole-camera surveillance. The article sites numerous Federal case law as well as State case law concerning whether a search warrant is required to conduct pole-camera surveillance in the vicinity of a residence. In conclusion, as long as the video surveillance is of a public area, there are no fourth amendment concerns. However, video surveillance even of public places may implicate the first amendment depending on what the surveillance is targeting. In conclusion, any use of video surveillance by law enforcement should be scrutinized to determine whether privacy interests are implicated and a search warrant is required or advisable, and whether the first amendment is implicated. 57 endnotes
Main Term(s): Visual electronic surveillance
Index Term(s): Camera technology; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Curtilage; Right of privacy; Security surveillance systems; Surveillance
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