Athens Games security setup is dusted off

The security operations center and some 1,000 CCTV cameras used during the Athens Olympics last year may be back in use by next month if the government receives an expected all-clear from the country’s privacy watchdog by next week, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. The Public Order Ministry has asked the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD) to approve the use of the cameras and the crisis management center in the wake of terrorist attacks in London and Egypt. The CCTV cameras were installed during the Olympics to monitor roads and key buildings and sites as part of the 1-billion-euro security system. Some were used after the Games as well, but last November the APPD placed severe restrictions on their use and ruled that they could only be used to monitor traffic. Now the government wants the right to turn the cameras back on so security officers can monitor not just roads but also squares, buildings and other locations, such as power stations and public transport, that might be considered high-risk targets for terrorist attacks. A ministry source said, for example, one of the capital’s main roads, Kifissias Avenue, had to be monitored because most of the major embassies in Greece are located along it. The APPD is expected to arrive at a decision during the first week of next month, but sources indicate that the government is confident it will be given the go-ahead. Greece is looking to step up its anti-terrorist measures as it seeks to keep in line with other EU member states, which are also re-examining their security measures in the wake of this month’s bombings. The first batch of high-tech biometric passports, which all EU citizens will need to carry, will be issued in Greece early next year. Meanwhile, the European Commission yesterday proposed tightening controls of money transfers to cut off funding for terrorists. This would require wires for money to be accompanied by details about the sender, including name, address and account number. The EU will soon discuss the measure in more detail.

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