Ensure transparency and accountability in the use of surveillance cameras | Research


The success of the National Strategy continues to depend on the engagement of surveillance camera operators with the public about their use of surveillance. One of the main goals of the CCS for the strategy was to “make information freely available to the public on the operation of surveillance camera systems”.

Professor Webster’s research was vital in ensuring that engagement between CCTV users and the public was a key part of the strategy. He led the “civic engagement” component of the strategy to ensure that public awareness and transparency were core principles.

As part of the program, Webster organized and moderated a national strategy consultation event in London and a public “Question Time” event on the future of surveillance cameras.

Professor Webster added: “The civic engagement part of the strategy was crucial to ensuring that the public was aware of the use of surveillance cameras and that there was a discourse on how they are used.

“Transparency around their use is especially important at a time when new technologies are increasingly common and their capabilities are generally not well understood by the general public. “

Professor Webster also invented and directed the first World Surveillance Camera Day, which took place in June 2019.

The event raised awareness of the use of surveillance cameras and was covered The temperature, The telegraph, BBC 2 The spectacle of politics, Radio 5’s live breakfast show, as well as 95,000 impressions on Twitter. Webster also wrote an article in The conversation, which received more than 80,000 visits. One aspect of CCTV Day was an “open house” initiative where members of the public were greeted at CCTV control centers to see how they were being used.

The day was hailed as a “huge success” by Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter and generated a national conversation on surveillance cameras. The event also highlighted the need for local authorities and police forces to be open and transparent about the use of surveillance cameras.

Webster also hosted an expert panel at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) conference in Brussels in January 2020 on the governance of facial recognition surveillance cameras, extending policy discussions to a wider group of international stakeholders. .

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