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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Security Cameras Everywhere, But Debate Over The Data

New York Police Department security cameras are pictured in February 2013.  (Mark Lennihan/AP)

New York Police Department security cameras are pictured in February 2013. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

Police say images from video surveillance cameras implicate New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in the murder of a friend.

Cameras caught Hernandez driving through the streets of Boston and in and out of an industrial park south of the city in the moments before and after the time that police say the murder took place last week.

An investigator inspects the area near a surveillance camera on the roof of the Lord & Taylor store, which, an official said, is crucial in the investigation of the explosions near the Boston Marathon finish line, Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Boston. (Julio Cortez/AP)

An investigator inspects the area around a surveillance camera near the Boston Marathon finish line that an official says is crucial in the investigation of the bombings, Thursday, April 18, 2013. (Julio Cortez/AP)

And security cameras helped catch the Boston marathon bombing suspects.

Like many communities across the nation after 9/11, Boston installed a vast network of police and privately-owned security cameras intended to bolster security and keep crime down.

But there’s now a raging debate about how long data from those cameras should be kept, and who has access to the data once it’s gathered.

Police in Cambridge, where the Boston bombing suspects lived, want to turn on several Department of Homeland Security-funded cameras that have been banned from use for the past four years.

“It’s not a super comfortable thought,” Cambridge City Councilor Craig Kelley told Here & Now. “I’m not happy with the idea. I wish we didn’t live in a world where these things were arguably — I wouldn’t say necessary — but arguably useful tools.”

The town of Brookline, which is along the Boston marathon route, is also debating the use of security cameras.

Stateline reporter Maggie Clark has been writing about the national debate over surveillance imagery from security cameras and drones.

Stories by Maggie Clark:

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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