Someone's Always Watching You at Klyde Warren Park, Sometimes From Their Living Room

KlydeWarrenCamera.jpg
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The surveillance cameras at Klyde Warren Park aren't exactly hidden. They're rather conspicuous, in fact, with their large white boxes emblazoned with "Dallas Police" and prominent placement on light poles throughout the 5.2-acre green space.

But BearCom, which manufactured and installed the 13 wireless cameras, wants to make extra sure you notice them. The company sent a press release yesterday excitedly touting its role in providing "24x7 Monitoring of Popular Deck Park that Links City's Downtown and Arts District with Bustling Uptown Area."

Cameras at Klyde Warren's entrances offer 360-degree views, while other cameras monitor the paths and green spaces.

"They see everything and everyone that goes into and out of the park," said BearCom's engineering program manager Mike Butler before noting, reassuringly, that the wireless technology allows the park's security director to "see the feed on his tablet computer while he's sitting in his living room."

The cameras, we learn, "can even trigger alarms based on preset video and audio situations," which tempts one to streak through the park screaming obscenities, just as a test.

What the authors of this press release seem not to realize is that, while installing security cameras at a shiny new gem of a park is a no-brainer, people don't necessarily like to hear about being watched from someone's living room. Especially people like Anne Shuttee with the ACLU.

"What is being done to secure this and to make sure that images of people going about their lives are not being distributed to people who have no reason to have access to those kinds of images?" she wondered in an interview with WFAA's David Schecter.

It's hard to get too exercised about being watched in a public place where dozens or hundreds of other people are watching you in person, or could be. Still, a bit creepy to think about.


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16 comments
daviddennard
daviddennard

When you're in public you make yourself and your actions "public" so simply behave yourself and go on about your business. No one cares what you're doing as long as it's safe and legal.

If you're worried about marketers seeing what designer label jeans you're wearing or what drink your consuming, then quit being a walking billboard for the brands or just accept it as part of commercialized life. I thought that you wanted to be seen wearing and consuming the brand? 

You wanna be cool don't you? Then smile, you're on T.V. (closed circuit at least)! Be a star!

jmckee3
jmckee3

It's a public place, I'm really having a hard time understanding the concern. Did you know the residents of Museum Tower will be able to spy on people in the park from the comfort of their own homes? Sometimes I spy on McKinney Ave from my house and by spy I mean look out my window.Like just go to the park, half the people there are taking photos or recording video, frankly I really wish they had kept the construction cam up just so people could see what kind of activies were going on at the time or how busy it was to drive interest in the park.This is just a manufactured controversy and was amused that WFAA reported on it live from the park with people having a good time in the background in HD without a hint of irony.

todd
todd

I find it odd that the ACLU is concerned about unauthorized distribution of the images, but not the potential for inappropriate use by BearCom or the park security staff.   

ruddski
ruddski

If you're not doing something the State disapproves of, you have nothing to worry about. Europe, especially my beloved UK, is rife with cameras watching your every move, and those cameras are world effing class, people.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

When we go out in public we gussy ourselves up so people will look at us, then we have a shit-fit when we find out cameras are looking at us.  Get over it. 

epicmale
epicmale

So what's the difference in the Sheriff sitting on his horse watching what's going on in the town square or other law enforcement officers watching from an electronic 'horse'?  Sheesh...  The only people that worry about such things are the one's that were screaming "Mommy!  He's looking at me!" from the back seat of the family station wagon.  LOL...

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

I'm bothered by surreptitious surveillance, and other civil liberties intrusions.  This doesn't bother me at all.  I wouldn't support it for all parks either, and think cameras should never be used for criminal charges.  Further, we shouldn't fall into the trap of expanding camera surveillance exponentially.  The more the cameras, the harder it is to monitor their recordings.  This is the same problem with the NSA and our national security state.  FISA courts and other laws that limit and focus the state by forcing search warrants are a great way to control the flow of information these watchers have to digest. 

markzero
markzero

@epicmale I think the concern is that the security people may let other people watch the video, not that the cameras exist at all. That would be analogous to your Sheriff telling his neighbors that he saw a married person they know meeting a lover at the park. They can resolve this by having clear rules for access. 

casiepierce
casiepierce

@scottindallas"... and think cameras should never be used for criminal charges." 

Why? Many neighborhood parks and city-owned open spaces have drug deals and illegal dumping. The best way to catch them is by using cameras. 

epicmale
epicmale

@markzero  But the Sheriff's observations of public events are essentially in the public domain, just as I am able to go video anything and everyone in the park.  I can also access cameras along many major thoroughfares in the Metroplex, and other cities, online right now.  If a married person wants to do something even more stupid, he can't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place.  So, let's petition to make the cameras accessible to everyone.  Problem solved....

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@casiepierce @scottindallas that's right.  They CAN be used to establish probable cause, or in the anecdote you choose, could be used to patrol in marked or unmarked units.  That's actually fairly standard protocol.. 

markzero
markzero

But the Sheriff's observations of public events are essentially in the public domain


Nope, it's a lapse of professionalism to gossip about private matters seen on duty, even if they take place in public places.

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