A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is hoping leaders of other cities will consider following the lead of the city council in Iowa City. Last week, Iowa City leaders approved an ordinance to ban traffic-enforcement cameras, most uses of license-plate readers, and drones.
ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Randall Wilson says not all surveillance is conducted by the National Security Agency. “There is a lot going on locally that is of great concern and certainly, at the same time, we’re also concerned about these mobile speed camera systems that prosecute owners even though they can’t prove the owner was the driver,” Wilson says.
The ordinance approved in Iowa City is believed to be the first-of-its-kind in the U.S. “I think it’s fairly leading edge and I don’t think it’s an extreme measure,” Wilson says. “I think it’s a very rational thing to do and I just wish more cities would now begin to think about doing something similar.” Wilson also takes issue with the makers of the camera systems as he says they’re all from foreign countries and end up collecting at least half of the fines.