PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As more and more surveillance cameras pop up everywhere, the City of Pittsburgh originally planned to implement its own safeguards to make sure your security and your privacy are balanced.
But those plans are going to have to be revised.
For example, surveillance video taken in both public and private places ended up in the trial of Kenneth Konias, convicted of killing his armored car partner and running off with the money.
Prosecutors traced the path of an armored car from a parking lot in Ross Township to the private camera at the Rivers Casino loading dock, to one of the cameras monitoring the very public southbound lanes of McKnight Road.
But when governments set up surveillance, what rules have to be in place to comply with the law?
Generally what you do in a public place is fair game. But public cameras won’t be able to point into certain private places – and when Pittsburgh established a law to govern the use of government-owned surveillance, it planned to set up a Camera Review Committee and planned to warn the public in some instances that a camera was in place.
Not now, though.
“Even though our rules state that we should have signs that say where the cameras are, federal dollars that come in to build the camera systems don’t permit that,” says Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. “So what we’ve done is we’ve begun to train our police officers on the code – on the rules that we have and on the federal rules. Once we get completed with that we’re going to the community groups that are also instituting cameras and training them and making sure they’re all in compliance.”
Eventually Pittsburgh City Council will review revisions to the city’s policy before a new law is enacted. Meantime, police are reviewing their options.
If there is a camera review committee established, that will only happen after input from the federal government.