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Essex Professor to play key role in developing the national strategy on use of surveillance cameras

  • Date

    Thu 25 Apr 19

Professor Peter Fussey

Professor Peter Fussey from our Department of Sociology is to lead the new human rights, data and technology strand of the National Surveillance Camera Strategy.

Surveillance cameras have been watching over us for more than 40 years – but their increased use, coupled with the development of new technologies such as drones, face recognition and body worn cameras, has resulted in an increased need to ensure that technology used to uphold public safety also respects our rights and freedoms.

In response, a national strategy to create policy in this area is being developed by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Office. This is a government appointed office established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. It is responsible for the oversight and regulation of overt video surveillance across the UK and reports to Parliament on an annual basis.

"It's gratifying to know these issues are being taken seriously and embedded into the structure of the national strategy."
Professor Peter Fussey department of sociology

Speaking of his new role, Professor Fussey said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to lead the Human Rights, Data and Technology strand, underpinning the National Surveillance Camera Strategy.

“It’s gratifying to know these issues are being taken seriously and embedded into the structure of the national strategy.

“On a personal note it is a privilege to work on translating years of scholarship – particularly work produced under our Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project – into something of policy value.

“I look forward to building on this by harmonising elements from a range of existing frameworks and defining some core principles to inform the oversight of surveillance technology.”

Professor Fussey is also currently Director of the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP), and is a member of the Human Rights Centre at Essex. 

"Professor Peter Fussey is an eminent leader in the field concerning surveillance, human rights, artificial intelligence and privacy."  
Tony Porter surveillance camera commissioner

Speaking of Professor Fussey’s appointment, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter said: “Professor Peter Fussey is an eminent leader in the academic field concerning surveillance, human rights, artificial intelligence and privacy.

“Asking Peter to lead the Human Rights, Technology and Data strand of the National Surveillance Camera Strategy was an easy decision.

“His experience and credibility will support this complex piece of work and prove to be of national importance in helping to inform and forge policy and legislation in this area.”

Professor Fussey intends to open conversations with civil society groups, legal experts and those who use surveillance cameras to promote public safety, in order to pull together existing expertise.

He will then create an advisory panel of experts in the theory and practice of surveillance in order to develop a strategy based around the core principles concerning human rights as they apply to surveillance cameras.

Finally he will connect this strand with the 10 others that comprise the overall National Surveillance Camera Strategy, including the work of the Police and Local Authorities.