NYC City Council Passes Nightclub Video Surveillance Legislation
In an effort to increase New York City nightclub safety, the City Council passed legislation on Wednesday that will require all dance clubs to install surveillance cameras at entrances and exits. While concerns over privacy were raised, the council was in agreement that the use of surveillance tapes would be extremely valuable in crime deterrence and investigation.
The topic of video surveillance in New York City has been a hot one of late. Less than two weeks ago, the court ruled that police video surveillance at public gatherings, such as protests, is a violation of First Amendment rights. While public surveillance has been roundly criticized, video surveillance in private businesses is seen as an acceptable security tool.
Where nightclubs fall into the mix is an interesting question. Some fear that nightclub footage could leak onto television and the Internet, but the legislation specifies that all surveillance tapes be securely stored. Nightclubs will be fined $50,000 if surveillance video footage makes its way into the public eye via TV or gossip Web sites.
The legislation awaits the signature of Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has stated he's likely to approve all of the nightlife bills.