A Look Inside the NYPD Surveillance System
After the Times Square attempted car bombing, the world focused on a man who was captured on videotape changing his shirt near where the bomb rigged Pathfinder was left. We never learned his identity, but the entire Times Square incident has prompted city officials to redouble efforts to expand to midtown a New York Police Department video surveillance system already well established in the city's financial district…Three years ago, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information request with the NYPD for details about Domain. Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the NYCLU, says the public is at a real disadvantage when it comes to knowing when they are being covertly watched. "Our electronic privacy laws haven't been updated since 1986," she says. "Quite frankly, policy has not caught up to technology or to the reality of our lives." She argues that ubiquitous public and private surveillance comes with a price. "In New York in particular, the notion of being able to go about your business anonymously is really very core to New York 's identity," she says. "That's why so many famous people and movie stars and celebrities are comfortable making their home here." And what does she say to the popular retort that if you are not doing something wrong you shouldn't balk at surveillance that's for the collective public safety? "That is such an attractive argument. If you've got nothing to hide then what are you hiding? When I go to the doctor, I have nothing to hide and I expect my privacy. If I go into a gay bar, I have nothing to hide, and I expect my privacy."