Texas Legislature
3:31 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Committee Discusses Surveillance Bill And Potential Effect On Boston Bombing

A bill addressing privacy issues would require police and other state agencies to develop signage for any area of the state under the watch of a surveillance camera.  

The House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety heard House Bill 3165, which not only requires that those using surveillance cameras put up a notice, it also requires those agencies have a website where the public can view a live stream of what is being filmed.

"The purpose of the bill is simply to even the playing fields between the citizens of this state and the governmental entities. We have a lot of great technology which is furthering advancement and improving things like mobility, but the public deserves to have the right to know when they are being filmed," said Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, who authored the bill.

Stickland said he’s doesn’t want Texans to lose their privacy and civil liberties in the progress of technology.

Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, who chairs the committee, had concerns about how the bill would have fit into a more recent tragedy.

Pickett: "Under your bill, what would've been the situation in the Boston bombing?"

Stickland: "Under my bill my understanding is that the public would've had equal access if they were owned by the city"

Stickland said during the Boston Marathon bombing that the public would have been able to go online to view the pictures or video footage of the two bombing suspects in the same way law enforcement would have.

He asked the committee what piece of liberty were they willing to give up in order to have a little more security. HB 3165 was left pending in committee.