Iowa City Public Library May Soon Need to Remove Bathroom Cameras
Iowa lawmakers have said yes to a bill that bans cameras in restrooms and locker rooms at government buildings.
It applies to schools, libraries, and other government buildings but has an exception for public hospitals
There was some debate in the House on Wednesday, but the bill received an overwhelming majority of support, 84-14. Earlier this month, the legislation got through the Iowa Senate approved without a single no vote.
If the bill becomes law, the Iowa City Public Library downtown will have to get rid of its cameras by July 1st of this year.
The library has been using the bathroom monitoring equipment since 2007. They were installed to combat crime, like theft, and protect the safety of visitors.
The library’s director, Susan Craig, said in a brief statement, “I am disappointed, but we will comply with the law.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa in January asked the library to remove the cameras from its bathrooms over privacy concerns raised by a patron. The request was made on behalf of University of Iowa sophomore Kellsie Pepponi, who had used one of the bathrooms last year and afterward noticed a camera on the bathroom ceiling.
In reviewing footage from the Iowa City Public Library’s bathroom cameras — which is available on request since it was collected by a government entity — the ACLU said it found “footage of people in various states of undress, including children, and people ‘adjusting’ themselves after leaving the toilet stall.”
“These children and adults were obviously not aware that they were being videotaped and that the footage was public record,” the group said in its statement.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.