San Francisco police can now watch private surveillance cameras in real time

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A Nest Cam IQ outdoor security camera is demonstrated for tech journalists after a news conference was held to introduce a suite of home security devices in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017.
Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Police in San Francisco got a boost to their surveillance powers this week after the city’s board of supervisors voted on Tuesday to grant the police department access to private surveillance cameras in real time.

The vote, which passed 7–4, approved a one-year pilot program that will allow police to monitor footage from private cameras across the city with the camera owners’ consent. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) will not have continuous access to the cameras but will be able to tap into the network under certain conditions, such as during the investigation of crimes including misdemeanors and property crimes. The SFPD will also be able to access private camera footage during large-scale public events such as protests, even…

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