November 21, 2016
For Immediate Release
The Digital Freedom Initiative Announces Opposition to the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization Camera Program
The Digital Freedom Initiative has become aware of a troubling development in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. According to reports we have received the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization intends to install, and control, public surveillance cameras on a neighborhood-wide scale. This initiative not only places the security of the networks of residents that are willing to host camera infrastructure at risk of compromise, due to the notorious lack of security presented by internet connected camera systems, but the organization of mass public surveillance by a private entity sets a disturbing precedent.
The camera initiative, from the information that has been gathered, is unlike anything that we have been able to find public record of. Unlike past programs in Cleveland, which subsidize the purchase of privately controlled cameras that film primarily privately owned space, this program is a centralized program, run by a private entity, to film public space.
This initiative crosses a number of lines that separates the public from the private, and places the question of surveillance in the hands of unaccountable private entities which exist outside of public transparency laws and practices. As a result, this program represents a mass invasion of privacy carried out by a private entity, all with little to no public feedback.
These concerns exist along side a list of general concerns that the organization has surrounding surveillance and the imposition of surveillance on neighborhood populations. As we have seen with the revelations around the Snowden leaks, surveillance can generate a profound chilling effect in relation to creativity, expression and political action, as well as shape the way that residents live their everyday life.
The Digital Freedom Initiative is a Cleveland based organization dedicated to preserving and expanding freedom, creativity and transparency in the digital world and beyond.
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