Franklin, Pennsylvania businessman Skip Dreibelbis operates True Blue Auctions. He uses a video camera to monitor the front of his business.
Needless to say, Dreibelbis was surprised when two local policemen showed up and ordered him to remove his surveillance camera in the front of his store because it violated state wiretapping laws. Faced with the possible charges, Dreibelbis turned to The Rutherford Institute for advice where they have decided to file a federal lawsuit against the city of Franklin for violation of his constitutional rights of businessman using monitoring device.
John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute made the following comments concerning what happened to Dreibelbis,
“Nevertheless two police officers approached him and said he was violating Pennsylvania’s wiretapping laws and they would have to arrest him if he didn’t put away his video recorder. “He came to us and now we’ve filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the police saying they’re violating his right to free speech.
“For police to suggest that this activity violates wiretapping laws is absurd. The ramifications of this kind of government mindset does not bode well for the future of freedom.
“There’s actually a case I saw recently where a man was on his own private property filming the police arresting somebody. They entered his property. He informed the police that it was his property and they pushed him down and grabbed his camera. So there’s sort of a paranoia developing.”
So let me get this straight. In the state of Pennsylvania, it is considered to be illegal wiretapping to video anyone without their permission. If that is the case, then what I want to know is how banks can legally use surveillance cameras without permission to record everyone that walks through the doors of bank.
Or what about the surveillance cameras used by so many businesses both inside the stores and those trained on the parking lots?
Or What about those municipalities that use red light cameras to catch people running the traffic signals?
Or what about a tourist in Philadelphia that takes videos of famous landmarks such as Independence Hall and there just happens to be other people that inadvertently get filmed?
Or better yet, what about the dashboard mounted cameras in police cars that record people without their permission?
It seems that someone at Franklin city hall has a personal vendetta out for Mr. Dreibelbis or there is a different set of standards for government and law enforcement agencies than for private citizens and business owners.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of this case and what ramifications if any it may have.