Clause 29

Part of Protection of Freedoms Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 26th April 2011.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 12:00 pm, 26th April 2011

I beg to move amendment 81, in clause 29, page 20, line 25, leave out ‘of objects or events’.

I say this because I do not have an ego about these things: I need the Minister to help me. I have tabled the amendment because I do not understand the meaning of clause 29(6)(b) and I think that the Committee needs the Minister to explain why it is appropriate. Subsection (6) describes what “surveillance camera systems” means. Clearly, it means CCTV or ANPR, as described in subsection (6)(a), but I do not understand subsection (6)(b), and neither does the Information Commissioner, who thinks that there is a problem with it. Under subsection (6)(b), surveillance camera systems means

“any other systems for recording or viewing visual images of objects or events for surveillance purposes”.

My amendment would simply leave out “of objects or events”. Why are those words included? Does that measure include the processing of views? I do not understand the definition—is a person an object or an event? I want the Minister to explain what it means. I understand that CCTV and ANPR are surveillance camera systems, but what is meant by “any other systems”? Are such other systems precluded from doing anything that processes personal information? The Information Commissioner asked if that includes the processing of views and images of individuals, and if not, why not?

The amendment is probing, because as the Committee can see, instead of being my usual lucid, eloquent, dynamic self, with full cognisance of all the facts, I am struggling. I am sure that the Minister will come forward with a perfectly reasonable explanation, but it does not make sense to me, and it clearly worries the Information Commissioner. We need detailed clarification of what the clause means.