Focus on CCTV cameras

The government intensified its call yesterday for hundreds of CCTV cameras to be activated in the wake of Friday’s attack on the US Embassy in Athens, as opposition parties said the surveillance system would infringe on people’s rights. The ruling conservatives are waiting for the Council of State to rule on their appeal against the decision of the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD), which restricted the cameras to monitoring traffic. Greece spent some 250 million euros on the surveillance package for the Athens Olympics in 2004, part of which consisted of almost 300 CCTV cameras which have not been used since the Games due to the intervention of the privacy watchdog. «The results of using this system were positive,» said alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. «How can some people claim that this effective system should not be used to protect the lives and property of Greek citizens?» PASOK leader George Papandreou said that his party would not support the use of the cameras to monitor people because this would infringe upon their human rights. Synaspismos Left Coalition and the Communist party have said they are against the use of the surveillance system. Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said that he was also not in favor of «creating big brother with the cameras,» but accused opponents of exaggerating the implications of using the surveillance system. Meanwhile, police sources told Kathimerini that investigators will need at least another week to assess the evidence collected in connection to the embassy attack. FBI officials are expected to have finished examining CCTV footage from the embassy’s cameras by the end of this week. Sources also said that the response to a public appeal for information that may be relevant to the attack had been poor so far.

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