Congressional panel to review surveillance technologies

SSN Staff  - 
Sunday, December 1, 2002

WASHINGTON - Two Democratic senators have introduced legislation that would examine and set standards around the use of different surveillance technologies, including CCTV and biometrics, in order to protect the privacy of the public.

Under the Security and Liberty Preservation Act, legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., a bi-partisan committee would be formed that will review the technologies and report its findings to Congress and the president after 18 months.

"High tech surveillance tools are essential assets in the war against terrorism, but we want to make sure that they're used properly," said Edwards in a statement. "If we move forward thoughtfully, we can protect our security and preserve our privacy at the same time."

The committee will comprise 17 members, 12 of which would be appointed by leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate. Two appointments would be members of the state and local law enforcement community, with the remainder coming from a pool of experts, including those with "varying viewpoints on and areas of expertise…including individuals from the technology industry, non-profit entities and academia," the bill said.

SIA officials said their organization is "well positioned to become intimately involved" in the business of the commission, particularly in regard to the appointments of commission members.

"The question isn't should we have the cameras," said Schu-mer. "The question is where they should be targeted and how they should be operated. That's one of the areas where this commission will recommend guidelines."