Vermont AG has privacy concerns about border towers News Staff

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan says he’s concerned by the privacy implications of a series of surveillance towers federal officials are hoping to build along the state’s border with Quebec.

Donovan said he recognized the need by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to monitor the border for illegal activities.

“My expectation is that the CBP, in service to the public, will balance its needs for public safety with the privacy interest of those it is sworn to protect,” Donovan said in a statement issued Tuesday. “CBP has failed to make a compelling case that the scale and scope of the proposed surveillance is ultimately necessary, and it has failed to adequately take into account Vermonters’ privacy concerns.”

Last month the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also expressed privacy concerns about the proposal.

A CBP official did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

A 30-day comment period closed earlier this month for a draft environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact for the proposed phase 1 Remote Video Surveillance System for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector, which includes Vermont, New Hampshire and a portion of upstate New York.

The proposal includes two locations in Champlain, New York, and the Vermont communities of Highgate Center, Franklin, Richford, Derby, Derby Line and North Troy.

Janet McFetridge, the mayor of Champlain, New York, said Wednesday there hadn’t been any opposition to the proposal in her community.

The Associated Press

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