Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire filed a lawsuit challenging planned surveillance cameras in downtown Manchester. The cameras, which would capture live video of traffic on Elm Street, are illegal because they violate a state privacy law that specifically disallows cameras that capture a motorists' identifying information, such as their face or license plate.
"The surveillance cameras proposed by the City of Manchester are troubling: driving down Elm Street shouldn't include recording video of your face, license plate, and passengers," said Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director at the ACLU of New Hampshire. "New Hampshire is a state that staunchly defends its right to privacy, and this plan is a direct violation of that by needlessly capturing the information of thousands of Granite Staters simply going about their business."
The current installation plan includes three permanent surveillance cameras in the area of City Hall that will look north and south on Elm Street, with a live feed transmitted to the Manchester Police Department's dispatch office. The images captured would be recorded and stored for fourteen days. Although the intent may not be to monitor traffic, the high quality of the cameras allow users to zoom in and out, and would inevitably capture faces and license plates.