A University of Iowa student has voiced her concern after noticing a security camera in the public library bathroom.
Iowa City Public Library Director Susan Craig said the cameras are part of a security system that was put in place when the library opened in 2004. Craig says the library serves as the main public restrooms for downtown Iowa City, seeing about 22,000 people a week in and out. She says the cameras are there for safety.
“The reason the cameras are there are to protect people and to protect library property as well. We have arrested people on evidence from the bathroom security cameras of theft, we’ve helped police investigate and assault,” said Craig.
Although the cameras at Iowa City’s Public Library are not able to see the inside of stalls, the student who complained said they are in the area where people still need their privacy. The student then contacted the Iowa American Civil Liberties Union asking for help getting the cameras removed.
“At the very least they need to alter their signs so that people are clear that they are being recorded. They are clear that the footage can be made available to the public so they can change their behavior appropriately,” said Iowa ACLU spokesperson Veronica Fowler.
Craig said cameras are in fact legal and prevent criminal activity, but she admits they can be a violation of privacy. She says signs outside of the bathroom indicating cameras are in use have been in place for years.
Some say they don’t mind.
“Based on the locations of the cameras where they are in the bathrooms, it doesn’t threaten me I don’t feel like my privacy is being violated,” said Iowa City resident Max Kalber.
Others say the cameras do feel out of place.
“[I’m] speechless honestly. That’s your privacy, I feel violated,” said Iowa City resident Madysen Huber.
The library says camera footage is only looked at when there is an incident in the bathroom and the footage is deleted within 7 to 10 days.