CORRECTED-Philadelphia police chief warns of potential curse of technology
(Corrects reference in first paragraph to chief from officer)
Oct 20 (Reuters) - Government surveillance is sparking debate over public security and personal privacy, and the technology will be "both the benefactor and the curse of policing," according to one of the nation's top police chiefs.
The latest tools such as facial recognition software and mobile license plate readers will demand that law enforcement "be thoughtful about technology," Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey said on Saturday at the start of the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference, an annual gathering of top law enforcement officials.
Police leaders must recognize the complex implications of such advances, he said.
"Imagine instead of driving down the street scanning license tags, driving down the street checking the faces of individuals walking down the street," Ramsey said.
"We have to remind ourselves - just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it."
The week-long annual conference draws police officials from around the nation and beyond with dozens of workshops, product exhibits and conferences.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were slated to speak to the conference attendees on Monday.
Ramsey, who heads the nation's oldest police department, founded in 1797, added that technological developments are transforming not just police strategies but the public's expectations of law enforcement.
"We live in an era where cameras are everywhere, and information is instantly posted on the Internet," Ramsey said. "All this means we're under the constant scrutiny of the media and the watchful eye of countless private cameras and cell phones."
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Bernard Orr)
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