Cameras may outlast Games

The head of Greece’s official privacy watchdog suggested yesterday that many of the closed-circuit cameras installed in Athens as part of the Olympic security effort may remain in place after the Games. In presenting his annual report for 2003, Dimitris Gourgourakis, head of the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data (APPD), said the watchdog would re-examine the matter after October 4, the expiry date for the permit issued by the APPD for the use of 293 cameras, out of a total network of some 1,300 to be deployed. «If the matter of [the cameras] staying in place is brought up, we will have to make a new decision on the matter,» he said. The cameras are expected to go into operation after tomorrow, when Olympics-level security will come into effect around Games venues. When approving use of the network during the Olympics and Paralympics, the APPD had stressed that cameras must not be able to film entrances or interiors of homes, or record conversations. Furthermore, signs must be erected warning of the surveillance.