Following reports from various news sources, STIP and the Piratenpartij have asked written questions about camera surveillance in Delft in general and the use of Chinese camera brands in Delft.
Chinese camera brands
Various municipalities in the Netherlands use controversial cameras made by Chinese companies. The Hikvision and Dahua brands are largely owned by the Chinese state and play an important role in suppressing the Uighurs through surveillance equipment. The facial recognition equipment of these companies is relatively cheap, partly due to the incentive policy of the Chinese government.
What does STIP think?
In the Netherlands there are at least 26 thousand cameras and other hardware, such as recorders. A number of municipalities, including The Hague, will reconsider the use of cameras of Chinese brands. As far as STIP is concerned, the government should not join forces with companies which are susceptible to espionage and where there are serious violations of human rights in the chain.
By including relevant criteria in a tender procedure municipalities can prevent this. For example, by requiring, in line with the initiative proposal 'Delftse principes voor digitale sovereigniniteit', that the software that is used is open-source, it becomes more difficult to hide a backdoor.
Cameras in general
Deployment of cameras in Delft
The police and the municipality place cameras in public spaces. These cameras are often secured and not directly connected to the internet. The Personal Data Protection Authority recommends investigating all possible alternatives before camera surveillance is used. The placing of cameras is a privacy violation. As far as STIP is concerned, this should therefore be kept to a minimum. Is the use of cameras still necessary? Then we'll make sure they are set up safely and that information about the cameras is published as open data, for example in a sensors register.
Private individuals and companies also place cameras (e.g. camera doorbells) with a view of the public space on a large scale. This is almost always in violation of the AVG. The cameras are often poorly secured and collect unnecessary data. People regularly post videos of people slipping on their hands or of a couple making love on popular sites like Dumpert. Many cameras can also run facial recognition software and thus collect very sensitive information. So it's a big problem.
Proactively enforcing these cameras quickly costs a lot of capacity. One way to deal with this would be to allow residents to report these cameras themselves. The municipality could then send the owner a warning. People often do not know that they are doing something that is not allowed. Does the owner do nothing? Then it is always possible to enforce the law.
Collaboration with the Pirate Party
STIP cooperates intensively with the Pirate Party Delft on issues of digital safety and modern services. This cooperation has led to, among other things, the initiative proposal 'Delft principles for digital sovereignty'!