Today I responded to the consultation on a ‘Draft national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales’ published by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. My response is below:
>I have pursued a number of issues on ANPR over the past two years, formerly as member of the Crime and Justice Sector Transparency Panel.
I welcome the strategy, though it needs to be tougher in places
CCTV requires a more clear regulatory underpinning with tougher penalties for breach of codes of practice. The existing arrangement is a legislative dogs breakfast.
CCTV is rarely fully overt and the balance of rights and responsibilities needs to move more firmly to put more onus on the operator of cameras.
In contract law the 1970 ‘Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking’ case was (amongst other things) a landmark for requiring clear notices to prevent ill-informed entering into arrangements (eg signs on car parks with the T&C before you enter the car park, not after and certainly not printed on the ticket). Such clarity is needed in CCTV, especially at petrol stations where you cannot read the ANPR surveillance notice until after you have already been surveilled on entrance.
There need to be a formal ethical component in CCTV regulation that stays in touch with shifting social mores. This could be in the form of an ethics panel advising the SCC.
Similarly there needs to be a technology advisory panel to support the SCC.
Domestic CCTV, such as ‘always on’ baby monitors and home security cameras constantly uploading to cloud services require special study by both ethics and technology specialists. For instance – you have guests to stay and capture images of them naked. Or workmen in your house in a professional capacity who are bing monitored without their knowledge. What rights do these parties have? Where is the data stored, when is it deleted, can it be intercepted or viewed by third parties?
Tony Porter is familiar with my arguments on police ANPR, which i regard as a vital national system that is not being operated well.
ANPR as it currently operates is bordering on illegal. The police risk all ANPR evidence being contaminated in just one court case. See in particular this article by Lorna Woods, Professor of Internet Law at the University of Essex, where the case is made in detail
ANPR requires a proper statutory footing that provides for proper regulation – Home Office should bring forwards legislation
Independent oversight is vital – including full lay representation on a well-resouced governing body commensurate to the scale of the system with a Chair independent of the police and home office – eg the SCC
The police need to reduce the data retention period down to one year to be in line with other covert surveillance systems. This includes deleting securely the current over-retentions such as in the Met Police
It isn’t clear that the new national control centre system is being procured according to best modern practice nor with open-ness nor transparency in mind, which become all the more important when one considers the up lift in capability it will provide.
Original source – Talk About Local