55,000 doorbells and domestic security cameras in police network
Companies, government offices and private citizens have registered a total 314,000 surveillance cameras which the police can access in criminal investigations, news website Nu.nl reported at the weekend.
In particular, video doorbells have been a ‘major success factor’, Camera in Beeld organizer Karel van Engelenhoven told the website. Most of the cameras in the network are operated by private companies but 55,000 are owned by individuals.
Police cannot use the surveillance cameras for live viewing but the register includes their location, who the owner is and how long images are stored for. Police can ask to see the footage for ‘major investigations’ such as murder, armed robberies and missing persons cases.
For example, police were able to follow the route walked by a rape victim in Rotterdam and then were able to spot her attacker, Van Engelenhoven said.
However Lotte Houwing from privacy organisation Bits of Freedom told Nu.nl that company and domestic surveillance cameras are not supposed to film public places and police are gaining access to illegal footage.
The cameras, she said, ‘are becoming part of an illegal police surveillance infrastructure’.
The number of cameras in the network has gone up by one third since 2019.
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