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Bring CCTV under control

Senate report recommends all public cameras be signposted and operators trained.

ALL public areas filmed by CCTV should be clearly signposted according to a report from the Senate.

It recommends placing all 396,000 cameras (20,000 of which are in public areas) under the authority of Cnil – the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés.

Cnil exists to monitor the way information collected on the public is stored and distributed and to protect civil liberties.

Currently the cameras come under a range of authorities, sometimes national, sometimes departmental depending on such factors as whether they are digital or film, public or privatly operated.

Organising CCTV under one authority would make it easier to implement other changes and to protect civil liberties, the report said.

The senate report also recommended drawing up maps of all public areas that were under CCTV surveillance which could be distributed to local authorities.

Signposts would indicate when a person was entering or leaving a CCTV area.

A system of accreditation should be set up for those charged with viewing CCTV footage, the report said.

It said the surveillance of public areas should be clearly defined and regulated and that it should not be sub-contracted to private companies.

If brought into law the recommendations could signal the end of cameras stationed at the entrance of buildings such as clubs, banks and shops that also film public areas.

The number of cameras monitoring public places is set to rise to 60,000 by the end of 2009.

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