Greek court will rule on CCTV

By EDRi · November 3, 2005

The Greek public prosecution service has filed an appeal on 11 October 2005 at the highest administrative court of Greece against a decision by the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (DPA) that a new large high-tech CCTV system in Athens can only be used to monitor traffic.

The Greek DPA decided that the CCTV cameras could only be used to watch congested roads. The ministry of public prosecution service argues that the DPA’s decision is “unconstitutional, against the European Convention of Human Rights and illegal since national safety and public order rank higher than the protection of privacy”, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

The Greek DPA has put many restrictions on the use of the system which consists of camera’s, microphones and video analysis software. “Using the system and utilising the data collected through the system and recorded on it for any other reason is forbidden, including discovering offences, other than those related to regulating circulation.” The usage of CCTV on “low traffic roads, squares, parks, pedestrian zones and citizens’ assembly places (i.e. theatre entrances)” is not allowed.

Placing microphones in the public space is also forbidden by the DPA. “Taking and recording sound is prohibited. Therefore, microphones must be taken off the poles on which they are set.” But it doesn’t stop there. The DPA also ruled that many camera positions need to be changed: “Cameras must operate in such a way that taking and recording pictures of the entrance or the interior of houses is not possible. Therefore, cameras must be adjusted so that either they are stable or able to exclude certain areas through proper restrictions of the optical angle, tilt or zoom.”

In preparation of the Olympics, 293 CCTV cameras were installed in Athens last year. Dozens of them have been set on fire by angry citizens.

Court to rule on CCTV cameras (12.10.2005)

Decision 63/2004: CCTV cameras on the Attica road network (24.11.2004)