Big Brother - CCTV Cameras an invasion of privacy or a must have.

Published on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 15:15

There are now more CCTV cameras than ever. Most of us are caught on a CCTV camera at least once a day if not more. We are told the increased use of CCTV cameras in public is for our own personal safety and to allow authorities to protect us from crimes as well as gain evidence if a crime occurs. However, have we gone a step too far with CCTV cameras as many feel that they are an invasion on our privacy and an infringement on our human rights. Many of us seem to be fine with the increased amount of CCTV cameras as we don't even consider the amount in existence but some have launched a Big Brother campaign against CCTV cameras.

The Home Office has recently introduced a code of practice for CCTV operators in an attempt to regulate and protect the public from those who may abuse the power they have for illegal use. The code of practice includes 12 points that all surveillance or CCTV cameras must follow including;

  1. Always be for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need.
  2. Take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy.
  3. Have as much transparency as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints.
  4. Have clear responsibility and accountability for all surveillance activities including images and information collected, held and used.
  5. Have clear rules, policies and procedures in place and these must be communicated to all who need to comply with them.
  6. Have no more images and information stored than that which is strictly required.
  7. Restrict access to retained images and information with clear rules on who can gain access.
  8. Consider any approved operational, technical and competency standards relevant to a system and its purpose and work to meet and maintain those standards.
  9. Be subject to appropriate security measures to safeguard against unauthorised access and use.
  10. Have effective review and audit mechanisms to ensure legal requirements, policies and standards are complied with.
  11. Be used in the most effective way to support public safety and law enforcement with the aim of processing images and information of evidential value, when used in pursuit of a legitimate aim.
  12. Be accurate and kept up to date when any information is used to support a surveillance camera system which compares against a reference database for matching purposes.

However, whilst some believe it to be an invasion of privacy, you have to ask what they are so concerned about if they're not doing anything wrong? Now that the Home Office has introduced the above points to protect us from abuse of the footage, there seems very little to be concerned about.

CCTV cameras tend to have far more positive benefits than negative and it cannot be denied that they do offer a significant amount of security to the public. With some cameras being linked directly to the Police, should a crime occur these cameras can increase response times to incidents helping to protect us from danger. They have proved to be significant in catching criminals and also helping to piece together the movements of missing people including child abduction cases such as James Bulger. If they can help to secure convictions against dangerous criminals then they are well worth the invasion of privacy.

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