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Letter: Caution on Red Light Cameras (Newsday)

To the Editor:

Nassau County officials should proceed with caution on their plan to install 50 red light cameras by January.

The red light camera program began earlier this month and a handful of cameras are already watching over some county intersections. Today’s technology guarantees that a red light camera is capable of capturing more than the license plate of a speeding vehicle. Nassau County residents have a right to know if the cameras are recording license plate numbers alone or if the cameras’ gaze will reach inside cars, follow people walking down the streets, watch inside parks and see into businesses, doctors’ offices and bars.

Unfortunately, the county has not been clear about what safeguards, if any, there are and officials have left many questions unanswered: Are the cameras on 24 hours a day? Will people be identifiable in the pictures? Where will the images be saved, and for how long will they be kept on file?

Nassau County officials should take traffic safety seriously. But they should also take an individual’s right to privacy into account. These questions must be answered and county officials must consider the privacy implications at stake with the installation of red light cameras.

Samantha Fredrickson
Director, Nassau County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union

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