The video camera surveillance business has doubled over five years, to $9.2 billion, and estimated that it would more than double again by 2010, to more than $21 billion, say security market analysts J. P. Freeman Co. in a report quoted by MSNBC. The network cites previously reported plans by Washington, D.C., and Chicago to expand their camera networks. In other places: Rochester, N.Y., police announced a program last week to install 50 more cameras across the city; Seattle approved a plan this month to expand the use of cameras in the city's parks, at a cost of $400,000. The Austin, Tx., police chief has called for round-the-clock camera surveillance across the city before the end of the year.
The American Civil Liberties Union is skeptical. “To the extent that these cameras are there to protect the public safety, it's fine, but once they cross that threshold of getting into areas where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, they can expect to be challenged,” said Redditt Hudson of the ACLU's Eastern Missouri affiliate. Privacy advocates face a difficult task, however. “So far, I've been stopped by two citizens who have thanked me and said they've been praying for these,” said Kansas City police Sgt. Patrick Rauzi of the city's camera project.