Downtown Seattle

Police devices capable of tracking residents installed in Seattle

Police devices capable of tracking residents installed in Seattle
SEATTLE -- A new Seattle Police Department WiFi network in downtown Seattle has many residents worried that they're being watched.

It's a concern that the ACLU of Washington has raised about a number of white boxes that have recently showed up in parts of downtown Seattle.

The boxes are part of a wireless mesh network that was installed by the Seattle Police Department to improve communication. However, there are concerns the network could be used to track people's movements.

A list of protocols on how that technology will be used has not been provided to city council, and the ACLU has also asked for documentation.

The City council requires equipment that can be used for surveillance to be approved by ordinance before it's installed.

"In a democratic society you should be able to move freely without law enforcement tracking your movements unless they have reason to believe you're doing something wrong," said ACLU communications director Doug Honig.

Downtown residents have mixed feelings about the devices.

"Well, I don't think I would want them to track where I'm going, but as far as law enforcement, them being able to communicate, absolutely. But, where's the line?" one resident said.

A representative from City Councilman Bruce Harrell's office said Harrell is waiting on clarification from SPD.