A new code of practice will be introduced under the guise of forcing authorities to comply with a set of principles called “surveillance by consent”.
On the face of it, it seems like a good move, but look just beneath the surface and we soon discover it does little to slow down the growth of the surveillance state and in some cases, even protects Big Brother.
Authorities that breach the code will not face sanctions, and it only applies to a fraction of the UK’s 4 million CCTV cameras. A new watchdog will be created, The new Surveillance Camera Commissioner, but will have absolutely no powers of enforcement or inspection.
Emma Carr, deputy director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said:
“We have repeatedly warned that the public will not have confidence in a part-time regulator who has no powers, no legally binding rules and isn’t even able to take action against organisations breaking the law.
“For the new system to cover only a tiny fraction of CCTV cameras, not even those in school lavatories, it is clearly a disappointment to the wide range of people concerned that in many areas CCTV in Britain has got out of hand that the new system is largely a box-ticking exercise with no consequences for people who ignore it.”
However, police will have to place warning signs at the roadside of major routes, informing motorists they are being watched on CCTV.