New CCTV system threatens to breech individual privacy

A new CCTV initiative, proposed by the Melbourne City Council under their new ‘ Smart City Project,’ could fuel the ever-growing issue of privacy violation through its data collection strategy.

The Smart City Project, introduced in Melbourne in 2013 , was created to enhance and preserve the City of Melbourne through innovation and technology. The Council has set long-term goals, one being a more open and transparent information sharing capacity.

Bonnie Shaw from the City of Melbourne Smart City Office, said at a press conference at Monash University two weeks ago that this objective would be achieved through means such as CCTV and data collection.

The project will create a “smoother, frictionless experience for the people of Melbourne,” Ms Shaw said.

Currently, the Melbourne Smart City’s website has advertised a CCTV project that would use CCTV systems for not only public safety, but also for measuring the movement of people. However, Ms Shaw did not disclose this initiative in the press conference, but instead said that the “council currently does not have a system in place for this[ CCTV].”

The website has highlighted a developing plan as to how the council would go about using CCTV to collect data, and the challenges they would face in regards to public privacy.

It was stated that this project “will require the collection, use and potential disclosure of personal information.”

This is a major change from the current CCTV system which has strict protocols that ensure information is disseminated to authorities to assist with crime safely and securely.

Tess Ferrigno, IT specialist at the ANZ, said that current CCTV systems are useful in ensuring the safety of citizens, and are strictly mitigated by the council to ensure there are no privacy breeches.

Ms Ferrigno agrees that this initiative could be “potentially dangerous in exposing personal information, mainly due to technologies’ limitations,” she said.

The Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection(CPDP)raised concerns regarding ‘malicious attacks’ from third-party intruders. If an entire city is connected in a way, as proposed by the initiative, the personal information contained could be vulnerable to those seeking unauthorised access.

According to the CDPD, governance is also of concern. The council will have access to private information through new technologies, therefore it begs the question what will happen if this information falls in to the wrong hands?

Neither Ms Shaw or Melbourne City Council spokesman ,Carlos Ibarra, have provided further comments on this matter.



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