Organizations voice concerns about ‘Hill City Connect’ program

LYNCHBURG, Va. – “Hill City Connect” allows police to have access to your security camera, so they can find people who commit crimes.

“It just makes things a little bit more streamlined and a little quicker,” Lt. Craig Dowdy with the Lynchburg Police said.

Dowdy said the goal of the Hill City Connect program is to help and protect people from crime.

“Especially violent crime in our city and it helps us to do that,” Dowdy said.

The Hill City Connect program powered by FUSUS allows anyone to connect their home or business surveillance camera video to a cloud that allows police to have access if a crime happens.

“We can actually see where cameras are on a map where cameras are,” Lt. Craig Dowdy said.

William Owen is with the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project based out of New York. S.T.O.P. looks at how to use technologies without impacting marginalized communities.

Owen said FUSUS which powers Hill City Connect can negatively impact people of color when owners register cameras.

“It can also be integrated with a number of abusive technologies at police disposal, it could read automate license plate readers, surveillance is highly biased on where it is placed, we have seen surveillance used against anti-racist protestors,” Owen said.

While we reached out to FUSUS for comment about privacy usage, police say there is safety for users.

“Your camera registry data is classified as protective nonpublic data and is only authorized by users of our system,” Lt. Dowdy said.

About the Author:

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.