Minister irate at CCTV ruling

A recent decision by the country’s privacy watchdog refusing to allow security forces to use CCTV cameras installed during the Athens Olympics to monitor anything but the city’s congested roads was blasted yesterday by Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis. The ruling by the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD) thwarted the police’s attempt to beef up security after the terrorist bombings in London. Voulgarakis could not hide his exasperation over the decision. «If I have the ability to zoom in on the face of a murderer, should I not do it? Whose privacy will I be protecting? There should be limits to arbitrariness,» he told Parliament. In its ruling at the beginning of the month, the APPD said the 293 cameras installed in Attica for the Games could not be used to monitor people or buildings. After repeated questioning on whether the government had plans to buy equipment to monitor mobile phone calls, Voulgarakis said security forces were already using the technology available to monitor calls. «The question is whether citizens are legally protected and not those who threaten lives or society,» he said.