Feeds

Government lets CCTV watchdog off the leash

Will ask who, what, where...but not why

Top three mobile application threats

The Government has appointed a regulator to oversee the use of CCTV technology amidst growing concerns about surveillance and the effectiveness of the cameras. A minister said he hoped the appointment would "address public concern" about CCTV use.

Forensic Science Regulator Andrew Rennison will become the interim CCTV Regulator for up to 12  months, when Parliament will appoint a permanent replacement.

"It is … important that we address public concern about how CCTV is used," said minister of state for crime and policing David Hanson in a written ministerial statement. "I am, therefore, pleased to announce the appointment of the Forensic Science Regulator, Andrew Rennison, as the Interim CCTV Regulator with immediate effect."

"The interim CCTV Regulator will advise the Government on matters surrounding the use of CCTV in public places, including the need for a regulatory framework overseen by a permanent CCTV regulator, which enables the police, local authorities and other agencies to help deliver safer neighbourhoods whilst ensuring that personal privacy considerations are appropriately taken into account with supporting safeguards and protections," he said.

Civil liberties groups and privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office have long expressed concern about the increasing use of CCTV.

The House of Lords Constitution Committee warned earlier this year that growing public and private surveillance was damaging the fundamental relationship between Government and the people.

"The UK now has more CCTV cameras and a bigger National DNA Database than any other country. There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep towards every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state," said Lord Goodlad, the Committee's chairman.

"The huge rise in surveillance and data collection by the state and other organisations risks undermining the long standing traditions of privacy and individual freedom which are vital for democracy," said Goodlad. "If the public are to trust that information about them is not being improperly used there should be much more openness about what data is collected, by whom and how it is used."

An internal report by London's Metropolitan Police Service was reported earlier this year as concluding that only one crime was solved for every 1,000 CCTV cameras, and that only eight out of 269 suspected robbers in a month were caught by the cameras.

Hanson said, though, that the Government had its own, unpublished, research which demonstrated public support for CCTV.

"Home Office research published in 2005 showed that over 80% of respondents supported the use of CCTV to deal with crime in their neighbourhood. A similar high level of confidence is reflected in the IPSOS MORI poll conducted last year and which we will be publishing shortly," he said.

The appointment of a regulator is part of the Government's overall plans for the monitoring of CCTV use, its National CCTV Strategy.

"The changes are aimed at ensuring that those involved across the CCTV industry, whether from the public or the private sector, can be actively involved in the development and implementation of national standards on the installation and use of CCTV," said Hanson.

The regulator's role will be based on advice rather than intervention, though. "While the Interim CCTV Regulator will not have responsibility for deciding whether individual cameras are appropriately sited or how they are used, he will be able to help explain to the public how they can complain about intrusive or ineffective CCTV placement or usage," said Hanson.

See: The National CCTV Strategy

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.