Sydney City Coucil says no to extra police access to spy cameras

Sydney City Coucil says no to extra police access to spy cameras

The Sydney of City council has decided against giving police the power to use its inner-city cameras for “general intelligence gathering”, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Apparently, the rules would have allowed police to view footage ”for intelligence gathering on individuals and locations” and increased the scope of the program to include all criminal offences except for the use of illicit substances.

While the sydney city council had originally said that the powers had been approved by a steering committe that included a member of the NSW coucil for civil liberties, the civil liberties council later issued a statement saying it had “reservations” about the plan.

Two things come to mind:

Firstly, this is a good example of the relevance of the “slippery slope” argument that is often made by proponents of civil liberties. The cameras are originally put in to help manage big events and street crime and then later they are used to monitor people who haven’t committed a crime and may well be doing legitimate (but disliked by the state) activities such as protesting.

Secondly, where was the NSW council on civil liberties on this one? Good work to Paul Bibby at the Herald but surely this is something that the civil liberties council should be making a fuss about loudly and clearly?

About the Author

Amy is a Sydney-based journalist and commentator with an interest in politics, music, culture and evidence-based medicine. She is currently working as a medical journalist for a series of "Specialist Update" websites, and she has also been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, Crikey, New Matilda, and Vibewire's anthology "Interface". She was a panelist with the Sydney Writers' Festival in 2007 and 2008, organised the Sydney Writers' Festival event "erotic fan fiction" in 2009, and is a regular broadcaster on FBi radio.