Surveillance Cams at Harvard

Did you know there is a webcam filming activity in the plaza by the Harvard Science Center adjacent to HLS.  Check out the weather and who is walking by.

Upon learning of this webcam, which I recognize is probably just for fun, I wanted to find out about other cameras at Harvard or in Cambridge.  So I went to the Crimson archives and searched for surveillance camera.

I learned that in 2009 Cambridge citizens voted against the use of Homeland Security surveillance cameras citing civil liberty concerns related to the federal government.

I also learned that as of 2006 Harvard was home to about 200 security cameras across the various schools; camera locations are not disclosed.

Wanting to know more about legal challenges to such cameras, I went to Google Scholar for Harvard and searched “surveillance camera” + “university” + “fourth amendment”

I found a few interesting articles, including one with this clear explanation:

The Supreme Court has concluded that people lack a reasonable expectation of privacy in being observed in public. In 1983, in United States v. Knotts, the Court held that people lack a reasonable expectation of privacy when the government tracks their movements outside their home. Similarly, in 1986, in California v. Ciraolo, the Court held that while in public, people lack a reasonable expectation of privacy from visual observation from above.

Daniel J. Solove, Fourth Amendment Pragmatism, 51 B.C. L. Rev. 1511, 1525-26 (2010).

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