Fremont

'We need to control surveillance technology or it's going to control us'

'We need to control surveillance technology or it's going to control us'
SEATTLE -- Rise of the machines or the best security money can buy?

The ACLU's Doug Honig says the new wireless camera surveillance system throughout Seattle is troubling.

"We need to control surveillance technology or it's going to control us," he said. "All this is happening with virtually no discussion or debate up front, no public input up front."

The $3 million Homeland Security Grant will go beyond Alki and then expand across the waterfront, in Ballard and I-5 with dozens of cameras.

"It's pretty clear that some of this information will be used way beyond port security," Honig said.

The Problem Solvers have uncovered documents on the city of Seattle's website, including a diagram that appears to break down how the system connects with a number of law enforcement agencies, and even SPD vehicles.

We also found a price proposal, breaking down that $3 million grant, including a line item for "equipment, if needed, for command vehicles and police patrol vehicles to access live video via laptops."

"It says to me, wow, total surveillance," Honig said.

The document also says it's exempt from disclosure and could even reveal "specific system vulnerabilities." But the Problem Solvers found it out in the open on the city's website.

SPD and the Mayor's office would not elaborate further.

From the waterfront, Charlie Beach appreciates photography, but says there should be limits to the power of the lens.

"Every time I see a security camera I think everything that I do is going to be recorded right now," Beach said.

He said it could be an invasion of privacy. Alki resident Michele Mosher goes against the trend.

"technology -- It's the changing world we live in," she said.

She said she would be ok if the cameras were pointed toward people, if it helped solve crime.

"We have had in the summertime some activity with shootings or fights." Mosher said.

She calls it a part of "Big Brother," but agrees it's a new world with new questions.