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30 April 2013

INTERPOL hosts expert meeting on video surveillance

LYON, France – The use of video surveillance by both law enforcement and the private sector was the focus of a Group of Experts Meeting on video surveillance organised and hosted by INTERPOL within the framework of the EU-supported  Rules, Expectations & Security through Privacy-Enhanced Convenient Technologies (RESPECT)  project.

Some 35 experts from 24 countries gathered for the two-day (24 and 25 April) meeting at the world police body’s General Secretariat headquarters to discuss a range of issues relating to CCTV, including interoperability between law enforcement, public and private sector systems, effectiveness, prospective developments and the balance between security needs and individuals’ rights.

With investigations into the Boston Marathon bombing again highlighting the importance of video surveillance from an operational perspective, particularly in relation to suspect identification, existing practices and common challenges were also key items on the agenda. 

Organized by INTERPOL’s Office of Legal Affairs, the meeting served as the foundation for the projects’ research on video surveillance in order to identify operational needs and develop recommendations to strengthen security whilst respecting citizens’ fundamental rights.

Joël Sollier, INTERPOL’s General Counsel, said the results of the discussions would not only benefit the RESPECT project but indeed the global law enforcement community which, through INTERPOL, would continue to provide input to policy-making at a crucial stage before new European laws on the subject were finally agreed.

The meeting, chaired by RESPECT and SMART projects co-ordinator Professor Joe Cannataci, Chair in European Information Policy & Technology Law at the University of Groningen and Head of the Department of Information Policy & Governance at the University of Malta, also addressed  the issue of CCTV integration into smart surveillance, the main focus of RESPECT’s ‘sister project’,  Scalable Measures for Automated Recognition Technologies (SMART).

The three-year RESPECT project, like the SMART project, is funded under the Security Work Programme within the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). INTERPOL is a full partner in both projects which are each being carried out by over 50 researchers organized within 20 teams from partners within 16 European Union states and Australia.

One of the goals of the RESPECT and SMART projects is to draft a model law which can be deployed across Europe and beyond. Feedback from INTERPOL following this expert meeting will help establish guidelines and standards which reflect the law enforcement community’s needs, as well as identifying appropriate safeguards.

The overall objective of the project is to modernize and improve the quality and efficiency of surveillance stakeholders’ working methods, including those of law enforcement agencies while providing the right balance with and improving respect for privacy and other rights of the citizens subjected to surveillance.