Privacy, Free Speech & the Garden Grove Cyber Café Experiment

By: Brett Stohs

In response to gang violence at local “cyber cafés,” the City Council of Garden Grove, California, passed an ordinance requiring cyber cafés to install video surveillance systems. The constitutionality of the provision was subsequently challenged, and a California Court of Appeal determined that the video surveillance requirement did not violate free speech or privacy protections under either the federal or California Constitutions. This decision was immediately challenged, by commentators and a dissenting judge, as opening the door to Orwellian-type, government intrusions into individuals’ personal lives. This iBrief analyzes the appellate court’s decision and concludes that not only did the majority reach the correct conclusion, but that there is no merit to the dissent’s Orwellian fears.

Cite: 2004 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0012