Wednesday, November 29, 2006

'We don't want the English situation'

...was a headline in today's Westfaelische Rundschau about the new surveillance cameras installed in the city centre of Iserlohn in Germany. The cameras in question are intended to protect the old Town Hall from vandalism, but also point away from the building. It is clear from the article, that surveillance of the population is against the law. Only the chief police officer has the right to decide where to place such cameras., and people wandering about the town freely must not, by law, be subject to surveillance.

Since in the UK, where the population is the most observed population in the world, people's consent to such surveillance has not been taken, this approach could be very interesting. In terms of data protection legislation, there are two ways of getting out of this one - a) the population voted for the governments who put this in, and b) the surveillance is supposed to be used to prevent crime - a get-out clause in the legislation. But is it only used for that?