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ACLU: Chicago is Big Brother

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 8, 2011 2:00PM

2011_2_7_camera.jpg The American Civil Liberties Union is set to release a report today asking the city to halt expansion of its video surveillance program until measures can be taken to protect the "fundamental American right to be left alone." The 44-page report also lists just how extensive the city has become in using surveillance cameras as a criminal deterrent.

In addition to the 1,260 cameras the Police Department has set up across the city, they also have access to up to 10,000 other cameras. Chicago Public Schools have over 4,500 set up on its properties, CTA another 1,800 on buses and train stations, O'Hare Airport has 1,000 cameras installed, and camera systems set up in private buildings such as Willis Tower and John Hancock Center. Newer cameras also have advanced capabilities to zoom in on an individual when a 911 call is received and track that individual and any vehicles on cameras throughout the city. The ACLU writes:

"The (ACLU of Illinois) believes that Chicago does not need a camera on every sidewalk, in every block, in every neighborhood," the ACLU wrote. "Rather, our city needs to change course, before we awake to find that we cannot walk into a bookstore or a doctor's office free from the government's watchful eye."