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Flint Mayor Karen Weaver came to the October 14th Special Affairs Committee meeting to present a draft to the city council that would require many businesses in the city to install a security system to their specifications.

The ordinance would require those businesses to install a security system consisting of at least 3 cameras with 1 covering the counter and register area, 1 camera providing “a clear, identifiable, full-frame image of the face of each person entering and leaving the business establishment.”, and 1 camera giving an overall view of the establishment’s parking lot. (pg 4 of the draft linked below) Businesses with multiple registers and/or entrances would require more than the 3 minimum.

According to an article from ABC 12, “Sgt. Booth added the cameras would not contain any facial recognition software.”, however in the meeting where the draft was presented, Councilman Eric Mays asked if the ordinance proposed contained facial recognition and the Chief of Police said, “It might… it might depending on the business and the location.”

Flint Councilman Eric Mays asks about facial recognition

To clarify this point, Sgt. Booth would technically be correct, as facial recognition is typically software based and not integrated into the hardware itself, so the cameras themselves wouldn’t have to contain it. The police would only need access to the feeds themselves and then they could run any facial recognition software on their own, which they would have according to the same article where Sgt. Booth said, “They would allow us access through a web-based program and platform. And we will be able to monitor the cameras, just like they can, on those locations.”

That describes remote access and while the draft covers unspecified access after a crime has occurred, I was unable to find any language requiring the business to provide remote access to simply monitor the cameras at anytime. One of the 3 requirements for the camera system is a full frame face image however so the raw data would be there.

I reached out on Wednesday to both the mayors office and police department for comment and clarification on the proposed draft and have not heard back.

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