Mon, Feb 23rd 2009 5:37am
The use of CCTV continues to grow in the UK as police and intelligence agencies seek to cover ever-larger areas of the country with security cameras in an attempt to prevent and solve crime. In many cases, the cameras are covering public areas, but one pub owner in London says that police are trying to force him to install CCTV cameras in his business -- and turn footage over to them upon demand -- as a condition of his operating license. The man bought an existing pub, and the change of ownership required him to apply for a new license. He alleges local police said they wouldn't oppose the new license, as long as he installed a CCTV system that captured images of every person that came into his pub, and made that footage freely available to them as part of a new blanket policy covering particular parts of London. The office of the British Information Commissioner took exception to the plan, saying this sort of blanket policy for new license holders raised serious privacy concerns, and could fall foul of data protection rules. It finally looks like there's some significant pushback against the UK's growing surveillance society, both from the Information Commissioner, but also in the form of a recent report from the House of Lords, saying the country's 4 million and counting CCTV cameras were undermining personal freedom and privacy, which are vital to democracy.
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