Bill would require governments to disclose number of surveillance cameras

Bill would require governments to disclose number of surveillance cameras

SPRINGFIELD – Government agencies would be required to disclose the number of video surveillance cameras they have – but not the locations – under a bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee.

The legislation, HB 1948, is sponsored by Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana. Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, is a co-sponsor. It cleared the committee Wednesday on an 11-0 vote.

The bill would require agencies to report annually to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority the number of surveillance cameras they have. They also would be required to post their privacy regulations, if they have any.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which asked Jakobsson to sponsor the bill, says the legislation is needed because there are thousands of video surveillance cameras in Illinois, but little information about them has been released to the public. The ACLU says it has serious civil liberties and civil rights concerns about the cameras, including the possible invasion of privacy, voyeurism and discriminatory targeting.

The release of the information, the ACLU says, could lead to a discussion about whether further privacy regulations are needed.

"It's something that is not a partisan issue," Jakobsson said.

Rose said the listing is something he's been working on "for a couple years."

"Everywhere you go now there are cameras everywhere," he said. "I don't think it's asking too much for government to have to put on paper how these cameras are being used.

"This is something where the libertarian wing of the Republican Party meets the far left of the Democratic Party. We come together and say that government has an obligation to provide this information on how these cameras are intruding into people's lives."