Its an interesting concept, we have more CCTV systems in the UK than that of some totalitarion regimes and enough evidence to suggest that it doesn’t actually deter crime it just changes it. Don’t worry, we also have the best systems for challenging and regulating this. Or do we?
Bedford Borough have a page dedicated to Data Protection and it lists a document that you can consult to help explain you rights. Here’s what you get when you hit the link….
The requested document is not available, or you don’t have permission to view it.
Good isn’t it, I am very pleased to say that I am reassured.
The question of who is watching you or more to the point, why and what regulations are working to is very apparent when you find that there are places around Bedford that are owned by the council and exist as part of council services but for whatever reason, the CCTV system is not operated by the council and at this stage, the council seems to have opted out of explaining how it can opt out of explaining who is watching me when I access this council service.
Now if you dig about you find a sign saying who is watching me. I have queuried their obligations under the Data Protection Act with a nice chap who works for OnWatch who are the people watching me and he told me they were working for the council.
When I asked him to confirm this he said that well actually he worked for a private company but as they worked for the council well they sort of did as well. I asked him about Data Protection and he was a bit stumped so as he’s paid not much I imagine for watching me on a Sunday I said goodbye.
I’ve asked a rep from the company that payes OnWatch to be interested in me and my use of a council facility and he’s playing all shy. So I’m going to ask the Chief Exec of the Council, he’s not a man to shirk his responsibility.
So even now, whilst I know who’s watching me, I can’t get anyone to explain their perspective on rights and regulations and if those doing the watching (even if it’s a third party) are vetted and covered by the basic principles of Data Protection. If it was the council’s CCTV system its quite clear but this isn’t.
Its alarming and funny in equal measure. A small area of land has at a rough count 30 cameras. SOme are private but on council land, others are council owned and viewed by Council staff so two different legislative routes. Some rotate and the Borough ones have had to be tinkered with so private residencies can’t be snooped on (a convicted rapist employed by the coucnil had access to council CCTV systems before the law caught up with him). We don’t half know a lot!
Smile! Who’s watching you?