Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in CCTV

Last year, the police in the city of Leicester tested the practical use of a body CCTV camera. It proved to be successful for the police, so they are now rolling out the cameras to all police across the United Kingdom.

The cameras, which have in-built night vision, have already proved to be invaluable in a number of situations faced by the police, including dealing with domestic violence incidents and identifying offenders in large groups.

Police wear the cameras on the front of their stab vests and after attending an incident download the footage captured onto a computer where if needs be it can be transferred onto a DVD to be presented as evidence in court.

The technology has an advantage over pole-mounted CCTV cameras as it allows officers to film an incident at street level, as they see it, the force also believes the cameras will deter troublemakers from squaring up to officers or making false allegations against them.

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Besides violating her lease, in New York State, you cannot monitor any security cameras unless you take a safety course by the state and are certified to do so. If she hasn’t don’t this, then she is also in violation of the law. If these cameras were inside her apartment or house, then she would be well within the law. They aren’t. They are on the property of a building that belongs to someone else.


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Someone had the bright idea that it would be okay to put CCTV in the children’s restrooms at Ruskin Sports College in Crewe.


Last week, the Chronicletold how the Crewe school has fitted the cameras by the sinks and at the entrances to the male and female bathrooms as a preventative measure against vandalism.

Parents have reacted angrily to the fact they were not told before the cameras were installed, but the school says they will not be switched on until parents have been consulted.

Concerns were also raised that despite these assurances, the cameras may have already been turned on before the story broke.

Headteacher Ella Brett has insisted they had only been turned on intermittently to check the system worked, and had never been used to monitor students.

Naturally, there has been a backlash to not being notified that the school was planning on doing this, but some think it’s okay and not an invasion of privacy. The school, however, is adamant that they haven’t been used yet.

“As previously stated, there is no intention to activate the cameras until parents and students have had the opportunity to give their views on the system. In addition, parents will be given the option of coming in to see the positioning of the cameras. Some parents have already done this and they have felt that it has clarified the situation for them.

Since the school has already placed the CCTV in the school and spent the money on purchasing and installing the cameras, they have essentially said that they intend on using them despite the fact that using the bathroom is a very private affair and cameras should never be allowed inside them.

“We have received a great deal of support from students and parents over this matter but, before we take things forward, we will be seeking their views and we will be working in conjunction with the local authority.”

How can Ms. Brett claim that she has received a great deal of support when, clearly, there is a major backlash in from students and parents? Does she really live in such a bubble that she hasn’t a clue about the outrage this has caused?

This is nothing more than an overzealous headteacher attempting to use technology she doesn’t understand to solve the perceived problems in her school. If there is such a problem with vandalism in her school’s restrooms, there are many other ways to solve it without violating the inherent privacy of young children.

Photo from flickr.

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In the UK, the chances are you’re being watched. It has more CCTV cameras per person than almost any other nation on earth. And now the government is planning to cast its intrusive eye over online activity, phone calls and text messages, all under the guise of an anti-terror law. And as RT’s Ivor Bennett reports it’s the taxpayer who may well pay in more ways than one.

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The Oxford City Council has proposed that CCTV be mandatory for all taxis and that every conversion be recorded. This is, presumably, for everyone’s safety.

Such a blanket scheme would seem to breach the Information Commissioner’s code of practice on the issue. It says recording conversations is unlikely to be justified and that sound on CCTV should usually be turned off. It refers to recording in a cab occurring only if a panic button is pressed.

Yet Oxford City Council does not believe it is flouting this code, saying the risk of intrusion is acceptable compared to public safety.

Recording conversations would be justified if assaults, sex attacks or fraud was constantly being committed in our taxis.

The council would like all taxis to be fitted with CCTV by April 2015.

The necessary equipment must be installed by taxi drivers licensed for the first time by 6 April 2012. A panic button must also be fitted.

Cabs already registered will have until April 2015 to get the kit fitted, the council said.

The council said the cameras would run continuously, but only view footage relating to police matters would be reviewed.

Big Brother Watch said it was “a total disregard for civil liberties”.

She said police would only locate footage, stored on a CCTV hard drive for 28 days, if it was needed for a police investigation.

She added: “The risk of intrusion into private conversations has to be balanced against the interests of public safety, both of passengers and drivers.”

While this is presented as a means to provide public safety, the rules are too vague at this point. We do not know when the cameras will be turned on and off, who will be in charge of the storage or who will take complaints from customers. This is before anyone looks at the civil liberties issues concerning CCTV in taxis. There are far too many questions that need to be answered before a scheme such as this is even implemented. Until all concerns are addressed, it’d be best to just sit and say nothing in a taxi, lest any conversation be misinterpreted or used against you later.

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