New surveillance code could ‘enhance’ CCTV

16 Mar

[Originally posted on the website of Heather Brooke]

The Home Office has released a consultation document outlining a code of practice that could require local authorities and police forces to reveal the locations of all CCTV and number plate recognition cameras on the auspices of addressing citizens’ concerns about state intrusion into private life.

Surveillance cameras in privately owned areas such as car parks and shopping centres will not be covered but the Home Office “hopes” these organisations will see the benefits of adopting the code.

Despite this apparent concern for state surveillance, if not private surveillance, the government is still working on higher resolution, discrete digital cameras with powerful zoom potential and 360 degree vision, which could be combined with facial recognition software in the future. The consultation states:

Our approach to establishing a new regulatory framework is therefore intended to provide a means through which public confidence in CCTV, ANPR, and other such systems, is improved by ensuring that there is proper transparency and proportionality in their use. We also aim to ensure that the considerable investment in technologies such as CCTV yields worthwhile returns by ensuring that they are operated as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Could it be this sudden interest in our civil liberties is less significant that ensuring ‘worthwhile returns’?

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