Houston Says Businesses Must Install Surveillance Cameras and Cops Can View Footage Without a Warrant

Houston requires spying beyond bars and other establishments. Officials in Houston, Texas, have voted to require an array of businesses—including bars, convenience stores, and strip clubs—to install surveillance cameras and make footage from them readily available to police. This is an unconstitutional and blatant attempt to bypass Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches or seizures by leaders of the city.

Police officers can access the video footage from their cameras by asking them. It is notYou will need to have a warrant.

All Houston bars and convenience stores as well as game rooms, nightclubs or other sexually-orientated businesses are subject to these rules.

These establishments’ owners must purchase surveillance cameras for outdoor locations “providing video coverage starting from the outside of the building up to the property line”. These cameras must be kept running for 24 hours per day and stored footage for at most 30 days.

Businesses must provide surveillance footage within 72 hours to the Houston Police Department. Infractions could lead to $500 in fines per day.

The Houston City Council approved this privacy-killing measure on Wednesday by a vote of 15–1.

Savannah Kumar, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas said that “their vote showed a willingness to disregard constitutional protections to subject Houstonians to excessive police searches.” A city cannot ignore the Constitution. Protect your rights with us. Tell the police to ask for a warrant if they knock on your front door.

This measure will take effect within 90 days.

Jared McClain, Institute for Justice attorney said that Houston’s new law not only violates the Fourth Amendment rights business owners but also damages property rights. The ordinance infringes on the property rights of certain business owners by requiring them to spend thousands more to purchase high-definition surveillance equipment and to store their footage to make it available to police upon request.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that if you are convicted of a crime you can be sure we will follow you,” during a news conference on the new law.


Are you looking for metadata? Says congressman: Bring back a warrant The Warrant for Metadata Act, introduced yesterday by Rep. Ted Lieu (D–Calif.Federal law enforcement agencies would need to obtain a warrant before asking tech companies to turn over their cloud-stored metadata. While federal law does not protect certain data from government surveillance warrantless, it allows agencies to search third-party clouds providers for metadata without the need for a warrant. The Washington Post.

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