Today's edition of You and Yours on BBC Radio 4 featured an item on CCTV and compliance with the Information Commissioners code of practise. On the programme was a representative of CameraWatch - a CCTV users' group that: "Support the CCTV industry to ensure systems are operated in accordance with data protection and other legal requirements".
CameraWatch say that nine out of ten CCTV systems may not comply with the code and therefore the Data Protection Act. Whilst it is important that cameras are operated according to guidelines, there are wider issues that the programme did not touch upon, such as privacy, civil liberties and the worrying trend towards "upgrades" that further reduce the freedoms of law abiding citizens. In fact CameraWatch explicitly supported the industry, Police and Home Office line as laid out in the National CCTV Strategy. Their representative told the programme that the poor quality of images of current camera systems means that efforts should be made to install new cameras with high quality images - thus keeping public confidence in CCTV and increasing compliance with the code of practise!
The public has been told that CCTV is an effective tool in the fight against crime when it is not. Now the industry says CCTV does not work and they have the answer - upgrade the systems! Where is the public debate about the implications of installing high resolution, networked surveillance cameras with facial recognition, behaviour recognition and other technologies as are currently being trialed in China?.