Expert Tells Senators Video Surveillance Should be Protected by Wiretap Laws

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An electronic privacy expert “is urging Congress to update wiretap laws to include secret video surveillance as a Senate subcommittee ponders the issue in Philadelphia,” the AP reports.

Monday’s field hearing is being led by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa. It comes amid a lawsuit that accuses a Pennsylvania school district of spying on students through webcams on school-issued laptops. Lower Merion school officials say they were only trying to locate missing computers.

Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation is scheduled to testify. Bankston says wiretap laws should include videotaped surveillance the same way they protect secret audio recordings.

The hearing is being conducted by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, which Senator Specter is in charge of.

Some more information:

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs will have a field hearing on Monday, March 29, 2010 in Philadelphia to examine federal laws concerning webcam computer surveillance. Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Subcommittee, called for the hearing after alleged reports of spying involving the use of webcams on laptops loaned to students by the Lower Merion School District.

The hearing, entitled “Visual Laptop Surveillance: Does Title III need to be Updated?” will focus on potential gaps in federal statutes in light of ongoing advances in technology. Witnesses include lawyers, academics and experts familiar with computer crimes, free speech and privacy laws.

(credit image – getty)

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