Iowa City removes cameras from library bathrooms

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa City Public Library has removed cameras from its public bathrooms, complying with a new state law.

Television station KCRG reports the cameras were removed before Gov. Terry Branstad signed legislation Thursday that bars Iowa governmental entities from installing monitoring devices in public bathrooms, locker rooms or showers. The law provides an exception for hospital bathrooms.

The legislation was prompted by privacy concerns. In January the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa called on Iowa City officials to remove the cameras, which recorded common areas of the restrooms.

City officials had told a student being aided by the ACLU that the cameras were legal because people didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in common areas. The Iowa City Public Library director told the Cedar Rapids Gazette that the bathroom cameras were necessary for public safety and to prevent theft and vandalism. They said the cameras weren’t actively monitored.