Norway to the future
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Surveillance anarchy
9 out of 10 surveillance cameras (in norwegian) are not registered at the Norwegian Data Inspectorate. Now, even though a "Data Inspectorate" sounds 1984ish, they're the good guys here when it comes to defending privacy (they actually have some power). The news piece is short (and let's see if anyone follows it up), but a quote from the official states that registering your surveillance camera network is a minimum requirement, and if people are not able to follow the simplest regulation, they most likely do not follow any of the others either.

  1. One of these regulations is to clearly mark an area that is under surveillance. Not that it is very easy to spot these signs, but if you're alert, you should see them. Then consider that if you don't see a sign, you just might be at one of the 9 out of 10 places who do not tell you that you are under surveillance. Maybe time to start some camera spotting. Until someone with a digital camera and a GPS starts logging cameras here in Norway, you can take a look at some cameras to see what you should be looking for.

  2. I am no expert in the details of Norwegian law, but I doubt that evidence from a non-registered camera could be considered valid evidence in any court here. Meaning, the purpose of such private surveillance is even more perverse from the start.

  3. Will the lack of registration of surveillance cameras ease or hinder the possibility of linking them all together and start the ultimate reality show for the New Police State? This is one of the favourite paranoias of one of my privacy-advocate friends. I sincerely believe that such a situation is far off in any case here in this country, and any evil-doers would operate outside our Data Inspectorate anyway. It might even be easier to operate outside the government watchdog.

The fines for this violation should be heavy; this is after all a very basic principle in our privacy policies. Failing to enforce even such a simple regulation will throw Norway into surveillance anarchy.

The scariest part is nevertheless that most people here will never read this piece of news (unless some tabloid picks it up under the bold-typeset heading "YOU are being WATCHED" - which could serve some purpose right now). And even fewer will care. After all, "I haven't done anything wrong, so I have nothing to hide"...

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