Surveillance and Covid-19: Lessons to be learnt

Surveillance and Covid-19: Lessons to be learnt

Tony Porter | Policing Insight

"Across the world, a variety of surveillance techniques are being used to slow the spread of Covid-19. In his latest blog, UK's Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter argues that while the systems may look different, the principles behind deploying surveillance technology remain the same.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I began writing a series of blogs in February looking back over the six years that I’ve been Commissioner. That was because my commission was coming to an end in March. Well, it’s April and I’m still here as my commission was extended to June at the eleventh hour – a new person will be taking up the reigns when I depart. I started this series of blogs when there was a large degree of uncertainty about what was happening for me both professionally and personally. I could not have envisaged what was to unfold in the weeks to follow.

Surveillance and Covid-19

We are in the midst of a pandemic which none of us have ever seen the like of. Around 4 billion people around the world are on lockdown in an effort to limit the spread the COVID-19 virus which has claimed the lives of over 160,000 people.

We have seen the use of surveillance come to the forefront in how nations enforce social distancing measures and monitor the spread of the virus in an effort to save lives – from mobile data tracking apps to record personal contact with others, CCTV networks equipped with facial recognition, permission schemes to go outside and drones to enforce social isolation regimes."

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Tony Porter, Independent Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Policing Insight, 2020