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Law

Seattle Moves To Protect Privacy Of Residents

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Jen R
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Flickr

Ever think about what happens to the information the government collects on you?

Even signing up with a utility or reserving a room at a local community center can result in your data being stored somewhere. Improvements in technology have made that even more likely. 

It's the reason Seattle city leaders say they want to make sure people’s privacy is being protected.What the city of Seattle is proposing is  a set of privacy principles — something that every department, from the Seattle Police Department to the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, would have to follow to show just how the information the departments gather is used, stored and disseminated. 

Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell says that includes such things as audio and video collected on residents. 

“Camera technology is a good example. This will force us to look at how we use cameras, how we use the images and information or how we should use it,” Harrell told a council committee.

Recently, a plan to have police start wearing cameras was put on hold while some of the privacy concerns are worked out.

Privacy advocates say they began pushing Seattle to come up with an overall privacy policy a few years ago in the wake of the police department purchasing drones and surveillance cameras being installed along the waterfront. Both programs were later abandoned after public outcry.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.