Surveillance Cameras in Public Bathrooms Has Minneapolis Library Under Fire

The cameras were installed to confront drug dealing and other illegal acts occurring in the bathrooms.

MINNEAPOLS — It’s long been believed that building surveillance would ultimately stop in one place: the bathroom. However, that’s not the case at the Central Library located downtown here.

Surveillance cameras are located in every public bathroom in the library, as detailed in a KSTP report.

“They were put in there to deal with a lot of drug dealing, public drinking in the restrooms and vandalism,” says Hennepin County Security Manager Kirk Simmons.

There are obvious privacy concerns with cameras in bathrooms, a place where most people would assume they have privacy. 

Said Ali, a student who studies at the library, spoke out against the use of cameras in the bathrooms. “To have cameras inside the bathroom where people are doing their most private thing I think is wrong,” he says. “It’s absolutely disgusting.”

Read Next: Security Camera Filming Neighbor’s Swing-set Prompts Privacy Debate in N.Y.

There is no signage in the bathroom indicating that there are surveillance cameras in the bathrooms, which adds more fuel to the fire for critics. Charles Samuelson, with the ACLU, said that 10 years ago the city asked his organization what needed to be done to properly use the cameras. Samuelson says they told the city to put up signs to alert people to the cameras, however now that the county runs the library, that direction is not being followed.

“They need to put signage up, like, yesterday,” Samuelson says.

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