A growing number of security cameras have sparked concern among privacy advocacy groups such Bits of Freedom and Duch data protection authority ‘Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (AP)’, raising doubts about the potential for unauthorized use by police.
According to figures from the Camera in Beeld police camera registration project, there were 313,354 private security cameras accessible to law enforcement in the Netherlands in 2020, representing an increase of nearly a thousand annually from 288,530 in 2019. These security systems, registered with details of their location, owner and data retention period, are employed primarily by governmental organizations and businesses, making up three-quarters of the total.
Although cameras cannot be used for live viewing, footage is accessed for major investigations like murder, robberies and missing persons cases. However, research by Nieuwsuur revealed that 90% of private surveillance cameras overlook public roads, which is illegal under Dutch laws and therefore questioning the legitimacy of their usage. Contradicting this figure, police reported that at most 25% of cameras capture public areas.
Additionally, doorbell cameras are particularly vulnerable to hacking since passwords are seldom changed. As this long-term trend continues to expand security measures within households and businesses, it is important to consider the implications on public privacy.