Ecuador Requires Hotels, Pubs, Clubs, Dance Halls And Massage Parlors To Store CCTV Footage Of Their Public Areas For Six Months
from the can't-see-this-working dept
The use of CCTV cameras is hardly a new threat to privacy, but governments can still come up with demands for their use that surprise by their intrusiveness. That’s the case for Ecuador, where the Ministry of the Interior has made the following regulation, supposedly for reasons of “safety” (original in Spanish):
A recent decision by the Ministry of Interior ordered that every cabaret and motel … throughout the country, should have a system of video cameras in hallways, waiting rooms, entrances. It is an indispensable requirement for obtaining a permit to operate.
Not only must the CCTV cameras be kept in continuous operation, but they must also record everything that happens in front of their lenses, and have to store those videos for six months.
Six months’ footage from multiple CCTV cameras will be a huge quantity of data, which will make managing its storage a challenge for non-technical staff. Similarly, the sheer quantity available to the authorities will make finding anything quite hard — a by-now familiar problem that more surveillance data often equates to less useful information.
But, of course, the key issue here is one of privacy. The new ordinance is incredibly wide: in addition to hotels and motels, it applies to a huge range of other public spaces, including pubs, clubs, dance halls and massage parlors. Many people value these places for their private nature — something that will be largely abolished under the new requirements. It will be interesting to see how this situation evolves — whether businesses simply ignore the regulation, or perhaps “accidentally” wipe stored images. In any case, given the massive problems it will bring for people in their private lives, it’s hard to see the new regulation being fully implemented, whatever the government of Ecuador might hope.