Home » News » Public Safety
NH laws on public surveillance read in different ways
A Speed Sentry box records the speed of vehicles on Kelley Street in Manchester. The boxes are 18 inches square and are bolted to the metal posts of stop signs. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
But others, including Bedford lawyer Andrew Schulman, a civil libertarian, says it appears that that particular law was intended to protect people from police cameras that identify and ticket them for running red lights and speeding, which it did - and little else. Schulman doesn't see anything in the law that would mean an outright ban on police surveillance cameras on public ways.
The law defines surveillance as "determining the ownership of a motor vehicle or the identity of a motor vehicle's occupants on the public ways of the state or its political subdivisions through the use of a camera...." A political subdivision would be local or county government.
Kurk disagreed, but if there is a loophole, he wants it closed.
"If (Schulman) is suggesting police can now put up cameras and take pictures of people walking on the street, I will be putting in new legislation," Kurk said. "The idea of using surveillance cameras on people who are peacefully assembling is totally contrary to people in New Hampshire."
"If that's the law, nobody's ever heard of it," Mara said of RSA 236:130, which is known as Highway Surveillance Prohibited.
"Say you have a fire down an alley or someone's breaking into cars all the time or vandalism. It's a tool law enforcement uses," Mara said. "As long as you are in a public place with no expectation of privacy, you can use it."
"If it makes the public safer, yes I do favor it. We can't be everywhere," Mara said.
"If the park is open to the public, and if they are taping the pond and people feeding the pigeons, it is not illegal," Sweeney said.
Reuters quoted NYPD spokesman Paul Browne: "The technology, having been inspired and engineered with a sense of urgency after 9/11, has obvious applications to conventional crime fighting."
Sound can only be recorded if people are told they are being audio recorded, he said.
Acting Hanover Police Chief Frank Moran said video surveillance is used there "every now and then in a specific criminal matter."
"It's too bad really. It is excellent technology," Moran said.
Moran also said there is one camera on top of the Hanover Town Hall that feeds into the police station. Sweeney said that camera could be problematic if police use it to monitor the nearby streets.
"Surveillance images could be retained by police forever and used in a whole variety of ways that citizens do not expect that information to be used," Kurk said.
"That's not New Hampshire."
READER COMMENTS: 0
- 12-hour effort needed to get Mass. hiker off Mt. Adams - 0
- Body found under Manchester bridge was local woman - 0
- Woman gets speeding ticket, then crashes into guard rail - 4
- Weare Deputy Chief Sean Kelly set to manage Weare Police Department - 0
- Lizard in food sends 300 schoolchildren to hospital - 0
- Body found under Manchester bridge identified as local woman - 0
- Communications giant chips in for generator for Derry FD - 0
- Londonderry family fair returns but child safety is still the theme - 0
- Girl, grandmother escape fire in Rochester home with no detectors - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: Not your standard victory - 0
- Diane Foley is a lady of extraordinary elegance - 0
- Mayor's police contract veto may face override in Nashua - 0
- Havenstein to unveil 'Pledge 2.0' today, saying, 'I won't spend money we don't have' - 1
- Motivation Matters: Hey, boss! How am I doing? - 0
- Big Idea Group a startup breeding ground - 0
- North Country summit to highlight job creation - 0
- Food stamp loophole not a go in NH - 0
- Your Turn, NH -- Everett Pollard: Mount Sunapee's master plan will benefit whole region - 0
7 hikers rescued from Pawtuckaway
Food stamp loophole not a go in NH
Foreclosure relief clinic Oct. 1 in Derry
NH's future: Dean Kamen highlights a problem