Monday, February 11, 2008 at 9:05AM
Video surveillance has become a fact of everyday life. Each time you withdraw cash from the corner ATM, travel through an airport or visit a national monument, your image is probably being recorded. But you may be surprised to learn that there are no federal laws governing how these images can be used, where they should be stored, with whom they may be shared and when they must be destroyed. In this age of YouTube, TMZ and "Cops," it's hard to know where your image might reappear.
The laissez-faire approach of our national legislators is no longer an option. As an increasingly sophisticated surveillance blanket covers more of the United States, we need federal laws to preserve an individual's right to privacy while setting principles governing the use of closed circuit television and other surveillance technologies for bona fide security purposes.Surveillance technologies will continue to gain in capability -- and become more intrusive. Issues of privacy and public surveillance may appear vexing, but the United States must move forward with laws to effectively adapt to the inevitable spread of this technology. If the public is to trust business and government to watch over us, we need to follow the lessons of Britain and protect video images as we do other private data.