Scottish Biometrics Commissioner's statement on public space surveillance

19/05/2023 | Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Scottish Biometrics Commissioner, Dr Brian Plastow, has issued a statement on biometric-enabled public space surveillance in Scotland.

The statement follows a motion laid before the Scottish Parliament by Alex Cole-Hamilton, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, concerning the reach of Chinese state surveillance in Scotland. The motion calls for a review by the Scottish and UK governments, particularly in relation to the use of cameras made by Hikvision by Police Scotland and local authorities. 

Dr Plastow notes Scotland currently lacks a coherent public space surveillance strategy or a surveillance camera commissioner and that the only independent oversight in Scotland is provided by the UK Information Commissioner (ICO) on matters of UK data protection law. While the Scottish Government has announced a review, Dr Plastow has recommended that a public space surveillance Code of Practice addressing human rights and ethical concerns is considered. 

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