To regulate CCTV so everyone will have confidence that the system is performing the role its owner/user suggests and is not just 'fishing' or 'snooping'.
We will never stop the need for or use of CCTV because of its potential postitive value in reducing harm to society through crime prevention and/or detection however for us all to haverfaith that it is not being abused I would advocate that a number of rules and regulations are prescribed before it can be used.
1) A national register (N.R.) of all CCTV cameras which can monitor areas to which the public have access be maintained. This register would include the exact location of the camera, its type and capabilities, thescopeof its viewing potential, its owner and contact details of a single point of contact within that organisation (SPOC) to whom enquiries could be addressed, the reason for its presence, and the potential collateral intrusion it causes to the public. Each camera would then be given a unique reference number. Access to the register would be limited to law enforcement agencys and other specified bona fida organisations who would themselves be registered as users. All these organisations would also be required to have a SPOC to prevent misuse of access. Access would be granted at no cost on a documented need basis. This would allow users to quickly identify all cameras which may have imagery of interest in times of need (eg 7/7 bombings).
2) All persons/organisations wishing to use CCTV which looks into a public place must register with that N.R. for a 'one off fee' and another 'fee per camera per year'. This would help fund the N.R. and also focus users on whether they actually need to install as many cameras. Each user must nominate a SPOC for any enquiries regarding their CCTV system
3) All CCTV installations in public places should be subject to a planning consent process similar to that currently used to build, alter buildings, roads, etc, with the justification for the proposal to be set out on a notice at the proposed site and a method by which objections can be raised. This justification should be based on evidential needs, not just a wing and a prayer application. Sush justification is used for speed camera installations.
4) Each installed camera would have attached to it, either on the mounting post or wall, a notice giving its unique reference number, details of the owner and contact details, both a telephone number and a postal address. Where CCTV systems are installed in shops and shopping centres, the notices should be displayed at all entrances. When they are installed on vehicles, trains, etc, then the notice should be diplayed on the internal side of the entrance door or nearby.
5) The installation of a CCTV camera should be subject to review on a cyclical basis, perhaps 3 -5 years, and where evidence is present to suggest that it no longer performs the role for which it was installed (perhaps the geography around it has changed, for example) then it should be removed within a short time frame (28 days?).
6) A requirement of any system is that it must be in full working order (or else its useless and then only adds to peoples anxiety about being watched) or repaired within a short time frame (5 days?) or covered over.
7) Users of CCTV which only look into private areas can register with the N.R for free. They would not be required to follow any of the other rules and regs.