Memorandum submitted by Mr Mark Dziecielewski
Given the vast range of activities which your
inquiry "A Surveillance Society?" will only have time
to skim over, here are a few general points which I would like
you to consider:
1. CCTV SURVEILLANCE
Do not rely on the media sound bites about "4.2
million cameras" or "20% of the world's cameras"
or "monitored 300 times a day". These figures are usually
quoted without attribution or context. They are only guesstimates
by the noted criminologist Professor Clive Norris, http://ccr.group.shef.ac.uk/people/cnorris.htm
made over 4 years ago in 2003, so they are probably an UNDERESTIMATE.
See: "Estimating the extent, sophistication and legality
of CCTV in London", by Michael McCahill and Clive Norris,
published in CCTV edited by Martin Gill, Perptuity Press 2003
(now distributed by Palgrave Paladin) ISBN: 189928771X.
The idea of "roadside" ANPR whereby
Police patrols actually stop illegal drivers and their vehicles
is welcome. With 30 million vehicles on the road this is a logical
However, the idea of Yet Another National Centralised
Database, the National Automatic Numberplate Recognition Database,
is very different, especially since the otherwise private vehicle
movement data of millions of innocent motorists, who are not being
investigated as part of a specific criminal investigation, is
being stored for two to six years or more, regardless.
The fact that this database is also to be fed
from non-Police operated ANPR cameras, from Local Authorities,
Local Police/Community Safety Partnership quangos, and from commercial
Road Pricing or Congestion Charging sub-contractors, Supermarkets
and Petrol Retailers is a huge privacy and surveillance worry.
There is a history of low paid employees working
long hours unsupervised by senior managers eg at night, being
involved in Credit Card "skimming" fraud, even with
the latest Chip and PIN machines. They have been exploited by
international organised criminals and terrorism financiers.
Why should such powerful surveillance technologies,
linked to the Police National Computer and the DVLA name and address
records of vehicle keepers, be allowed to be accessed by anyone
other than real police constables?
3. DATA RETENTION
OF CCTV DATA
The Home Office is involved in European Union
wide plans for the mandatory Data Retention of electronic Communications
Traffic Data, on 450 million innocent European Union Citizens.
This is a stupid, wasteful and privacy invasive policy.
Why are there no corresponding plans to demand
mandatory Data Retention of CCTV surveillance camera data for
a minimum period eg for two months?
Surely that would make more sense in the fight
against terrorism and serious crimes?
4. CCTV CAMERA
Such CCTV data retention should ideally also
lead to the Registration or Licensing of CCTV cameras, which must
be beneficial in the critical time period immediately after a
serious crime or terrorist incident, when so much police time
is wasted hunting down whether CCTV images are available, or trying
to find the contact details of the operators.
5. CCTV WARNING
You do not need planning permission to put up
CCTV surveillance cameras, provided that they do not breach the
Building Regulations (no mare than 16 cameras on the exterior
of a building, more than 2.5 metres above the ground, smaller
than the size of a microwave oven ie all modern cameras now on
However you do need planning permission to put
up warning signs that there are CCTV cameras in operation.
The effect of this is that there are more cameras
than signs, which is a stupid way to run systems which are meant
to deter crime, and lead to gimmicks like "shouting"
6. NATIONAL DATABASES
The current system whereby each Chief Constable
is deemed to be the Data Controller for his regional Police Force,
even for data uploaded by his subordinates to a National Database
e.g. the Police National Computer, the National DNA Database,
the National ANPR database etc. is now unacceptable.
There should be a single point of contact with
the actual managers of these National Surveillance Databases,for
the majority of people, it is a bureaucratic nightmare trying
to determine even who to contact to complain, let alone get errors
It is inevitable that with the current surveillance
technologies, mistakes will be made.
Surely, if we want to make use of these technologies
to just and peaceful society, far, far more attention and financial
resources should be made available to the rapid rectification
of errors, with unstinting and if necessary public, apologies
from senior people, and generous financial compensation?
A humane attitude to correcting mistakes, without
having to jump through bureaucratic hoops or to have to go to
the complexity and expense of a court case, would go a long way
in converting the public's suspicion of faceless bureaucratic
snooping and surveillance, into an acceptance of these tools as
a necessary evil.
I hope that your inquiry will have time to look
into some or all of these points.