NGO warns of video surveillance in the city

NGO warns of video surveillance in the city

NGOs – including fundamental rights platform Epicenter.Works, Amnesty International and Systems Change Not Climate Change – take the plans critically. In an open letter, he addressed his objections to Vienna’s Transport Councilor Uli Sima (SPO) and Transport Minister Leonor Gewesler (Greens). In it, he speaks out against video surveillance for traffic calm desired by the city – which would have to be made possible by federal legislators.

“We suspect this is an appropriate means to reduce car traffic and to warn of the negative consequences of our fundamental and human rights,” it said in a broadcast on Thursday.

“Almost as Many Holes as a Swiss Cheese”

“According to our knowledge, the city of Vienna is planning to install video cameras on almost all 38 access roads from the Ring Road to the First District and thus automatically record the license plates of all cars moving in and out.” does not previously reside in the district, taxi or truck should not be penalized, does not operate a business in the district or is not recognized by such business as supplier or hotel guest, parks his car in a multi-storey car park does not or does not leave the district within 30 minutes.

“The model has almost as many holes as a Swiss cheese”, it said. In terms of traffic policy, it would be “more expedient and cheaper” to reallocate part of the parking spaces in the city than to monitor most streets with network cameras, the initiators believe. “We also suspect that the technical and administrative implementation of this project may have been designed in such a way that only license plates and photographs of the vehicle or driver would not be recorded.”

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pedestrians also affected

It is said that pedestrians or cyclists crossing the road can also be affected by video surveillance. Moreover, such a system would have to be centrally networked, as cars belonging to unauthorized persons who leave the district within 30 minutes or drive in a multi-storey car park should not be penalised.

“The city of Vienna is thus creating a mountain of data that we fear will create and in the future the data will be used for other purposes as well.” In addition, NGOs insist that a large proportion of meetings in Vienna take place in the city centre.

“Lemper Means”

“Video surveillance of this magnitude makes us afraid that in the future there may be a deterrent effect on the population not to attend meetings in the center of Vienna.” The call is now to use “more liberal means”. It is emphasized that the goal of traffic calming is considered “fundamentally worth supporting”.

feasibility study commission

The city of Vienna and the first municipal district began a feasibility and implementation study for inner city traffic calm, it was announced at the beginning of the year. The focus is on the plan to monitor the city limits through cameras. The car-free city project has been around for a long time. In 2020, a first – ultimately unrealistic – concept led to discussion.

The study is to discuss, among other things, technical requirements and a possible timetable, according to a broadcast broadcast by the SPÖ club. It is assumed that access will continue to be guaranteed for residents of the district, users of public garages and distribution traffic, emergency vehicles and municipal services such as garbage disposals.

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City refers to other European cities

To defend the concept, Erich Valentin, the representative of the SPO city council and the chairman of the transport committee, went out on Thursday. In a broadcast, he assured that the camera-based access control complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Such a measure is already being used successfully in many other cities in Europe – Bologna, Turin and Dubrovnik for example. “The protection of personal data is a valuable asset and it is the primary concern of the City of Vienna that this protection is strictly adhered to,” he assured.

With camera-based access, it’s all about license plate recognition to classify use as permitted or as permitted. Photos will be taken only when motor vehicles come in and out. In the case of a legal entry – for example, if the license plate number is deemed exempt from a driving restriction or if you enter the garage later – the recording will be deleted immediately after comparison.

Compare with section control

“This process corresponds to section control. The legal interest in automated surveillance and criminal prosecution is the same in both cases and provides road safety in both cases. Only photographs of vehicles are taken, pedestrians or protesters are not recorded.” goes,” Valentin explained the surveillance method.

At the same time, the SPO mandate also underlined that a traffic-quiet city center would make an active contribution to climate protection and enhanced quality of life. “We want to reduce motorized personal traffic in the city. The traffic-quiet city center is an important measure to reduce traffic emissions, and the first district has excellent public access.” The district and city are working closely together on this matter, with technical implementation and feasibility studies currently underway. , which should be available in the summer, according to the city of Vienna.

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