Tuesday, 23 September, 2003

It’s an interesting exercise to count the number of CCTV cameras in Liverpool city centre that you’re caught on whilst going about your daily business. It’s rather a lot. I estimate that during a single days shopping I was caught on over 100 cameras.. and these cameras were only the ones I could see.

The question I ask is whether this level of surveillance is actually required to perform the function they’re designed to do. I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as it first appears. CCTV is a very blunt instrument. First, in order to catch someone stealing - something that is relatively rare - we have to capture the acts of thousands of other individuals who are not criminals. It is common practice to store these images for months after they were taken. That’s rather a long time.

It’s worth pointing out your images are covered by the data protection act. The data protection act states that data should not be held on anyone longer than it’s useful under it’s intended purpose. So, at least, in principle.. You could order the removal of your face from the CCTV camera logs once you have left the store. Or at least, you should be able to but as we see later this isn’t true.

I often worry about the amount of data that is held about one’s self. The data protection act does require that your information must be obtained lawfully but there are a long list of exceptions - mostly for governmental bodies.

Of course, law enforcement is one of these exceptions but it isn’t limited to the police. Any data for use in crime prevention or detection is exempt. This is a massive loophole. Any organisation can hold and distribute data about you, provided that it has some link to crime prevention. This covers CCTV of course which is problematic. Which means they can freely distribute your picture to anyone of their choosing without being registered. Emoticon: Razz

In principle, the state has far more power than it uses.. but democracy isn’t under attack really because these powers aren’t exercised to their fullest … My concern is that companies still have too much power.. way too much. We don’t elect the directors of a company do we.. Emoticon: Razz

On a much different note.. i had a great weekend.. Mel and I went to this spectacular open air concert.. Pictures to be produced soon.. Emoticon: Smile Other than that we didn’t do much but it was still a good weekend. Weekends rule Emoticon: Smile I’m listening to Rhapsody in Blue as I write this.. How pretentious Emoticon: Razz

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