SURVEILLE on the agenda for Efus members
Ethics and the efficiency of surveillance technologies are important issues for the 300 local and regional authorities of the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), which in 2010 launched its initiative for the responsible and democratic use of CCTV in European cities.
The SURVEILLE project is an important vector for local and regional authorities for obtaining firsthand information from research and technology developers and for contributing their experience and perspective to the knowledge base on surveillance technologies and the development of a normative framework for their use. Local authorities are end-users of surveillance technologies and, importantly, are directly accountable to their voters for the choices for or against the use of certain technologies in a given context. Locally-elected officials debate the social issues of ethics and efficiency of surveillance technologies with the citizens of their towns and cities.
The SURVEILLE project is the new focal point for the forum’s work on these issues. This has led to a new working group on technologies within the European Forum that is currently being set up as a platform to provide input from end-users and local decision makers. Amongst its members will be the president of the French Forum for Urban Security, the former Senator and current Mayor of Saint-Herblain (France), Charles Gautier, representatives of the Emilia Romagna Region (Italy), the autonomous region of Catalunya (Spain), and the cities of Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Brno (Czech Republic). Several other cities have announced their interest in contributing to the working group and the SURVEILLE project.
Technologies will also have a prominent place at the Forum’s international conference on the future of prevention “Security, democracy and cities: the future of prevention”, 12th-14th December 2012, Aubervilliers & Saint-Denis (in Paris, France). One of the four plenary sessions will be dedicated to ‘risks, technologies and prevention’. Moreover, a separate session will focus on SURVEILLE and the issue of ethics and surveillance technologies. In line with the Naples (2001) and Zaragoza (2006) manifestos, the conference will lead to a new European cities manifesto on security and democracy, which will also present the European Forum’s position on the issue of surveillance and security technologies.
A first step towards the new manifesto was taken at the Efus General Assembly, which took place June 7th 2012 in Brussels, where members of the Forum discussed the outline of the plenary session on technologies. The working group will come together before the end of the summer for its first work meeting to continue the discussion on the manifesto and to work on the local authorities end-users contribution to the SURVEILLE project, before participating in the SURVEILLE Annual Forum for Decision-makers on September 24th.