26 March 2019

South Africa: CCTV Surveillance Camera Rollout On Jo'burg Suburban Streets Raises Alarm Over Privacy Rights

analysis

Vumacam, a subsidiary of Vumatel, an 'open access fibre provider', is in the process of rolling out an extensive network of surveillance cameras in certain Johannesburg suburbs. There is concern over whether, in the process of trying to help combat crime, the installation of these cameras will violate citizens' right to privacy.

The movements of Joburg drivers travelling through several northern suburbs will soon be tracked by 15,000 CCTV cameras being installed by Vumacam at intersections and along streets.

Their installation is being seen by some as a welcome move aimed at deterring crime, while others have raised questions of privacy and how the data collected will be used. Cameras will be mounted in areas including Melville, Norwood, Greenside, Linden, Emmarentia and Bryanston at a reported cost of R500-million.

Responding to a query by Daily Maverick, the City of Johannesburg said it had "taken note of public concerns raised in respect of the matter (of Vumacam) and will seek to keep the public informed of developments".

The City said that even though there was no "denying that crime is a major issue within our country generally, and Johannesburg more specifically, careful consideration must be given in how technology is used,...

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