Project Champion Report misses targets
On CCTV, privacy, data protection...
I should add this thought. The Home Secretary from this time was Jacqui Smith, the West Midlands MP for Redditch, who had signed the Transport for London Certificate. Is it credible that she was kept in the dark about the mass CCTV surveillance in Birmingham, the nearby major city? So perhaps someone should ask her to comment on the obvious Watergate questions: what did she know and when did she know it?
Let’s also be clear what I am concluding about the Report. I think the report into Project Champion is assuming that the system was supposed to become a “normal” CCTV system and its recommendations relate to a failure in implementing a “normal” CCTV system (ie one that relates to general policing).
However if the CCTV/ANPR system was NEVER intended to be a normal CCTV system then it had nothing to do with normal policing. It follows that the Report’s analysis is likely to have begun from the wrong starting point and this could jeopardise some of its conclusions (important though they are for normal policing).
That is why I suspect the report into Project Champion may be incomplete. It has missed out on the real issues that surround such mass surveillance by not discussing the effect of the national security exemption.
The fact is that there is no effective counter-balance to this national security exemption that leaves society very exposed to similar mass surveillance systems in future. If you don’t believe me on this one, you should read my Transport for London blog below and look at the corresponding Certificate.
Here's the blog about the Transport for London (TfL) Congestion Charge Cameras. This explains why that the national exemption is so broad that it permits the disclosure of CCTV/ANPR images to anybody on the planet (eg any national government agency including the unsavoury ones) for any purpose (eg for a purpose that has nothing to do with crime and national security).
The TfL National Security Certificate is here (pdf).
(Note – just to be sure: This blog relates to the data protection considerations that relate to surveillance when it is overt (ie by CCTV cameras visible to the public); I am not considering covert surveillance by hidden cameras that is subject to RIPA.)