Wednesday 22 April 2015

A CCTV Experience

A resident sent me the following story about their experience with CCTV.  Interesting things in this story are the resolution of the cameras, who has access to the cameras and how the use of the cameras is logged (or not).

... one day I spotted that the CCTV camera in the street outside was pointing into our building. I queried this with the police and was advised that it was pointed towards one of the televisions that were hanging from our ceiling. The television was a good 50 ft into the building.

I visited Wood Street police station to talk to the CCTV specialist. He advised that, because of the number of agencies that could access the CCTV system, he could not tell me who had re-positioned the camera, when they had repositioned it and what they had seen.

I was given the opportunity to see the view from the cameras. It was possible to read writing on a computer screen 10 ft inside the building.

The consultation document advises that “The technology allows a ‘Privacy Mask’ to be applied to cover an area that impinges on any part of residents premises. The Privacy Mask will be part of any recorded images and no images from behind the privacy mask will be recorded.”. Having received my complaint, the police instigated what I think is the proposed privacy mask and I was given the opportunity to view this. The mask meant that an area of the screen was blacked out and the operator could not linger where the mask was set – the camera automatically moved away from the area. However, to enable the police to be able to see activity at street level (my office was on the first floor), not all the office could be included in the privacy mask.

The consultation advises that those in the City Corporation with access to the CCTV system includes: the City Transportation team in the Department of Built Environment, the Parking Enforcement Team and the Street Environment team. “In addition to this, CCTV may be accessed/ used for the security monitoring of major planned events taking place within the City and may be used in the event of an emergency/ major incident”. I think that too many people will have access to the images and, based on my experience, I do not believe that the proposed controls around the use of cameras is sufficient.

No comments :