Cameras installed in Lobby 7 and 10

A graffiti incident led to the installation of the cameras, which happened in early March

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Technicians work on a Lobby 7 door in parallel with security camera installation, with boxes of security cameras to be installed strewn along the floor.
Jade Chongsathapornpong–The Tech
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Technician installs a new security camera overlooking the steps at 77 Massachusetts Ave.
Jade Chongsathapornpong–The Tech

At the beginning of March, MIT’s Department of Facilities installed a number of cameras in the interior and exterior of Lobbies 7 and 10. Members of the Institute administration have commented on the installation, stating that the cameras were for the purpose of campus security. 

The video recording devices retain footage for “up to 30 days” and “do not capture audio,” Kimberly Allen, Director of Media Relations & Deputy Director of the MIT News Office, wrote to the Tech. Allen stated that these cameras are used for “monitoring campus assets, aiding in safe operations, campus security, and the overall safety of MITs campus and its community members.”

The Institute has a history of camera installation to prevent vandalism. Incidents including the Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit graffiti violation in 2010 as well as work to prevent the misuse of accessibility resources back in 2011 prompted camera installation. Past use of the cameras have been intended to be temporary.

In an interview with the Tech, President Sally Kornbluth said that “the impetus” for the cameras being installed was “not for surveillance of the student body.” She stated that the presence of the cameras would act as measures for student safety. Kornbluth noted a graffiti incident that was the “proximal reason.” This statement was verified by Allen and Joe Higgins, Vice President for campus services and stewardship. Allen noted that the installation would identify where the Institute had “serious gaps” in campus security.

Allen added that anything involving cameras would need to pass through a committee process, namely the Campus Security Working Group, which according to its description “includes representatives from the MIT Police, Campus Planning, IS&T, and the Provost's office, reviews all campus-wide physical security projects which require monitoring and/or response from MIT Police, and provides guidance to the MIT community about meeting physical security needs.” 

No information was provided to the Tech about how long the cameras would remain in their respective locations.