Myrtle Beach surveillance cameras raise civil liberty questions

A surveillance camera in place around Myrtle Beach

Surveillance cameras already operate along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach and the Boardwalk, and more surveillance cameras will soon be placed at boat landings in Horry County and at several parks in Conway. But many people don't even know they're there.

"Who's looking at it? That's creepy," said Marshall Whitmore, a Myrtle Beach visitor.

Myrtle beach spokesman Mark Kruea said the cameras along Ocean Boulevard and the Boardwalk are extra eyes for police.

"That's a busy place and it's just an extra set of eyes that you can have to make sure that should something go wrong, you got a record of it and hopefully track what happened," Kruea explained.

Victoria Middleton is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina. She said they're concerned about the rights to freedom of expression and movement.

"We don't monitor the vast majority of citizens who are law abiding just in case something happens. That's surveillance and it's un-American, really," Middleton said.

Middleton said there needs to be stricter regulations on surveillance cameras.

"Part of the protocol that are important would be limiting access to the video and not retaining it for long periods," said Middleton.

Middleton said most people aren't thinking about the fact that some things like their health or religion could be exposed simply by being caught on camera; going in or out of certain buildings.

Middleton said ACLU is lobbying for better policies and for tax dollars to be spent on better law enforcement tools rather than surveillance cameras.