As part of the National Surveillance Camera Strategy for England and Wales Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner, has published a civil engagement plan.
This work has been led by Professor William Webster – Director at the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP) as well as Professor of Public Management and Policy at the University of Stirling – and signed off by the Commissioner’s strategy group.
The civil engagement strand of the strategy will engage citizens and civil society about the use of surveillance camera systems and associated technologies (such as automatic facial recognition). It will to raise awareness and encourage discussion about the use of such systems.
The civil engagement plan aims to ensure that:
• citizens have free access to information relating to the operation of surveillance cameras
• citizens have a better understanding of their rights in relation to the operation of surveillance cameras
• citizens have an understanding of how surveillance cameras function and are used, and
• organisations have an understanding of the information relating to the operation of surveillance cameras that they should make available to citizens
Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter said:
"A key objective of the strategy is to make information freely available to the public about the operation of surveillance camera systems. In the current climate, with a security threat level at ‘severe’, surveillance cameras can be a tool to keep people safe but that can’t be at the price of mass intrusion into an individual’s right to privacy.
"The work William has done on the civil engagement plan will be crucial in ensuring that the use of surveillance cameras is debated and to encourage organisations to be transparent about why and how they are using surveillance cameras."