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San Francisco police can now view private surveillance cameras in real time

The Nest Cam IQ outdoor security camera is on display for tech journalists after holding a news conference to introduce the suite of home security devices, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Police in San Francisco increased their surveillance powers this week after the city’s Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to grant the police department real-time access to private surveillance cameras.

The vote, approved 7–4, approved a one-year pilot program that would allow police to monitor footage from private cameras throughout the city with the consent of camera owners. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) does not have continuous access to the cameras, but can tap the network under certain circumstances, such as during the investigation of crimes, including misdemeanors and property crimes. SFPD can also access private camera footage during large-scale public events such as protests, even…

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