Police want to extend use of CCTV cameras

Police have asked the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD) to extend the usage of 342 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras across the city for one more year, sources said yesterday. APPD had allowed the operation of the CCTV cameras until May 24, 2006, only for the purposes of monitoring traffic. The use of the monitoring equipment, part of a 1-billion-euro security program adopted during the 2004 Athens Olympics, has sparked a debate about privacy issues. The government has contested the APPD ruling, saying national security trumps the privacy of citizens. They want to use the CCTV cameras to monitor areas deemed to be high-risk terrorist targets. The Council of State, the country’s highest court, is scheduled to take up the issue on December 1.