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Privacy protection urged for California city

October 14, 2008 by  

Street-level photos are causing a stir in Santa RosaPrivacy and civil liberty concerns have been raised about the way that the city of Santa Rosa, California manages the data it collects about residents.

More specifically, privacy advocates have been calling for stricter controls and clear policies to limit who can access information, the Press Democrat reports.

One of the initiatives that is under scrutiny is a scheme currently being carried out by city-hired contractors to photograph every street in the city.

The idea is to create a digital photo database of city-owned property so that future trips to the sites can be avoided, thus increasing efficiency.

However, Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum has said that Santa Rosa’s implementation of this plan has so far been "irresponsible."

"Information held by the government can be used to influence your world in very profound ways," she told the news provider.

In response, the city’s chief technology officer Eric McHenry said that his team had decided to cut back on the number of city employees who have access the street-level photos.

However, legal questions remain about how the information would be shared under California’s open access laws, the publication stated.

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  • Bob Livingston

    Big Brother is watching!!
    There seems to be open season on American’s Privacy.   Accelerated technology makes snooping just too tempting for bureaucrats who have a natural bent to snoop on citizens anyway.  Whatever the law says makes little difference when it comes to privacy rights. It comes down to citizens having to thwart intrusion any way they can — even to blocking cameras or monitors or make sure the technology doesn’t work where there is no clear demand for the surveillance.

    –Bob Livingston

  • H. D. Schmidt

    As a legal immigrantof 52+ years and a staunch conservative Christian Republican, I find it very troubling indeed that America, yes America, is rapidly adopting many Nazi like tactics. Yes, and at the same time America really does not give a rip for its borders, while circling the globe with its evermore inhumane and horrendous war machinery, in essence doing really nothing better than create problems for America itself and the world in toe!
    All previous Empires operated similarly on the road to hell. James Madison said it well: “Of all enemieas to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instrument for bringing the many under the domination of the few”.  Yes, and this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, in the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale? So what presently the President and Paulson are truly doing is validating swindling upon swindling to so called rescue the melted economy caused by swindling. In essence sort of like trying to cure a dopehead, by giving him/her ever more powerful illegal drugs! What has America indeed done with this wise words: “Peace, commerce, and honest frindship with all nations, entangling alliances with note”? Now guns plus guns, seems to be an American addiction!

  • Adam

    They are going in exactly the wrong direction with information access. Equality means that if anyone has access to information, then EVERYONE must have the same access. Either that or it must not be collected in the first place. Since destruction of information is impossible to verify, then once it is collected then there is no choice but open access for all.


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