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Public voices concern about Smart Streetlights at San Diego City Hall

Privacy Advisory Board voting to get more feedback before making final decision.
Posted at 6:44 AM, Apr 28, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The smart streetlights in San Diego have been turned off for three years.

Some people like Patricia Mondragon are hoping they stay unplugged.

"It's $4 million dollars that could otherwise be spent on services, on programs. We have other priorities right now in the City of San Diego. Don't need to repeat them right now but we know it's housing,” Mondragon said.

The Privacy Advisory Board for the City of San Diego getting a breakdown from the San Diego Police Department about the smart streetlights and the automated license plate recognition technology.

During public comment on Thursday, issues of privacy, security, where the cameras are being placed, and the funding for the cameras should be going to other issues in the city were brought up.

"The data the brought regarding other municipalities that have introduced technology like this; they mentioned them having used it without what successes have they actually gotten from it," Salem Macintosh, who's against the technology, said.

SDPD stated in their presentation the number of benefits the technology has such as enhanced community safety, increased efficiency in investigations, and reduced gun violence among other things.

Instead of a vote, the board is moving forward with getting more insight from the community about their concerns.

"I think once the opinions started to come in there seemed to be a lot of just uncertainty. And when it comes that - something as serious and impactful as surveillance technology. We just want to make sure we are doing it right,” Ike Anyanetu, Privacy Advocacy Board Chair, said.

"This is absolutely the right choice to go back engage more with community, look at of the possibilities, understand exactly what they're voting on before they vote on it,” Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, who is against the technology, said.

The board chair said they're checking with the city attorney on how long they have until a vote must be made for city council approval.