Media Contact

Ari Schechter, 603-227-6679

August 13, 2019

“In today’s decision, the Court states that the City will be committing a crime when its planned surveillance cameras inevitably capture motorists’ identifying information. Thus, if implemented, the cameras will inevitably expose the City to criminal liability,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “While we are disappointed with the Court’s decision to not issue an order immediately stopping the placement of surveillance cameras on Elm Street, we urge the City to cease its plan to install these surveillances cameras that, as the Court noted, will inevitably cause the City to commit a crime. The Department should heed this warning from the Court. In the meantime, today’s decision is only preliminary, and the case will proceed.”

The Court notes: “[T]he Court agrees with petitioners that the simple act of a government employee recognizing a vehicle or its occupants, without taking additional steps such as running a license plate through dispatch, constitutes a violation of the statute as written.  The Court further agrees that it is virtually inevitable that in reviewing the footage generated by the cameras, a government actor will, given enough time, recognize someone in a car on Elm Street even if by accident”—an act which is a crime under the statute.