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Bermuda’s CCTV system delayed until end of July

Bermuda’s CCTV system delayed until end of July

Bermuda’s CCTV security system will not be fully operational until the end of July, over half a year later than initially anticipated, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Security said in a statement.

This follows as the Free Democratic Movement (FDM), a rising political party, said the cameras may “represent unlawful search and infringe on a person’s freedom of association,” after meeting with residents from Loyal Hill of the Devonshire parish.

In a letter to Minister Michael Weeks, Omar Dill, an FDM branch chairman, noted that one camera moved from its initially proposed location and created mistrust among residents.

“I have been informed that the visibility of these cameras has notably discouraged the community’s children from playing outdoors,” Dill says. The FDM is calling for the camera to be relocated.

The CCTV network more broadly has raised privacy concerns among all residents, Dill says. Many cameras use facial recognition and can zoom up to 30 times. Protections should be put in place.

“The FDM’s position on privacy rights is that there is a thin line between privacy and security. There should be protections in place to guarantee the security of the data this network collects, and a government should always collaborate with the people.”

Weeks responded, saying a number of factors were considered to determine locations of cameras in the island-wide system, including “being able to increase the security of our neighborhoods in particular, and Bermuda in general, as well as the right to privacy for individual citizens.”

He further promises that “none of the cameras in our system will intrude on anyone’s individual privacy,” a statement backed by Commissioner of Police Darrin Simons.

The system of 247 cameras was supposed to be up and running by the end of the year, but then was pushed to the end of April in January.

Last week, a government spokesman said the work would extend into at least the end of May as a result of delays caused by heavy rains and a lack of asphalt. So far, 150 of the 247 cameras have been installed, and only 60 are operating.

Yesterday, the spokesman said the project is expected to be completed by July 2024, noting the project is on track to stay within its $4 million budget.

The FDM has created a website, www.listentothepeople.net, to bring awareness to camera locations.

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