ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
HB 2344 would amend both Title 61 to authorize state parole agents to use body cameras and the Wiretap Act to exempt parole agents from restrictions on recording oral communications.
The ACLU-PA typically supports body worn cameras for law enforcement officers, as long as there are reasonable guarantees of transparency and accountability and safeguards against unnecessary privacy intrusions. But since body camera footage is excluded from PA's Right to Know Law, any benefits of transparency or accountability are minimal to non-existent. More importantly, parole agents are not law enforcement officers. They supervise people released from prison, and in that role, they routinely enter people’s homes without permission. Unlike police, parole agents do not need probable cause or a warrant to enter a home or search a person they are supervising. If parole agents enter a home wearing a body camera, then the person under supervision AND any other third person (and/or their belongings) residing in or even visiting the home would be subject to video surveillance every time a parole agent enters.
Equipping parole agents, who are not law enformcement, with such a powerful and invasive tool, raises serious privacy, surveillance. and Fourth Amendment concerns.