SF Surveillance Camera Provision Prompts LGBT Privacy Concerns

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Businesses seeking liquor licenses in San Francisco are being told to install security cameras in order to get a permit, once again sparking a debate about privacy concerns.

At a Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, two liquor licenses were up for approval. One easily passed but Supervisor Scott Wiener objected to the surveillance provision, postponing a decision on the second location.

“If you have an establishment that perhaps has a track record of bad things happening, that’s one thing,” Wiener said. “But absent that, I don’t believe this is justified.”

Wiener said the surveillance cameras can make those in the LGBT community uncomfortable, as many people who are not out of the closet don’t want their pictures taken if they go to gay bars.

The San Francisco Police Department, in accordance with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, required surveillance cameras in doorways and that the footage on those cameras be stored for at least 30 days and turned over to police upon request.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents Bayview Hunters Point, said in high crime areas, the cameras are useful.

“This is something I see as a public safety tool, that is certainly valuable and helpful to my constituents,” Cohen said.

A hearing was expected to discuss the requirement and figure out if language needs to be changed or to have the police department better explain the requirement.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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