NOLA considering ordinance to put surveillance cameras in and outside all bars feeding to a city central server

New Orleans has proposed ordinance 32,107 regulating bars, and part is about surveillance systems. This caught my eye because, in college, I first considered the privacy concerns of street cameras being installed here. That was probably 1969-70, and Katz was only about a year old. [Do the math.] Back then, it sounded too “Big Brothery” for me. Today, it’s de rigueur. I saw a sign in a window of a side street bar (none of these on Bourbon Street, probably because there’s no room) with this, noting that the ordinance

Mandates that everyone install outside security cameras that feed into city’s camera system at your cost but doesn’t speak to how much this will cost or any of the other details. This proposed provision is literally less than 30 words in the 22-page proposal. It also gives the ABO board the power to make you install cameras inside your establishment and require you to connect them to the city’s camera system.

About a year ago, a brutal street mugging was caught on a bar’s outside camera, and the assailants were ID’d by their faces. It was near the river, east of Canal. Now, though, the city wants all the surveillance video under its control. Valid under the Fourth Amendment as an administrative search requirement? The internet makes this possible, and the city would have to set up most of the electronic infrastructure. Now, in 2018, 50 years after Katz, the question is how far can a recording requirement go until it becomes a “taking” or otherwise unreasonable? With the prevalence of private video recording and third party data (note this is considerably distinguishable from the pending Carpenter), can any line be drawn except as to the camera owner’s rights?

And, I may now scratch Fat Tuesday off my bucket list. Been to NOLA maybe a dozen times around Mardi Gras, but never here before on Fat Tuesday. It’s 6:30 am and the City is still cleaning the streets. NACDL here Thursday-Saturday, and the Royal Sonesta obligingly gave the meeting rate for Tuesday on my reservation. [And, as if NOLA needs a reason to party, this year is the 300th anniversary of its founding.]

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