The First Map of Budapest CCTVs Is Available Online

After two and a half years of litigations, the Supreme Court has reached its final verdict. Budapest Police Headquarters is ordered to issue data on the CCTV systems operated by the police in Budapest. Locations, and all information regarding the operational, financial, technical, legal and personnel aspects, as well as informing of the public and monitoring data is now considered public interest data.

Out of the 600 cameras operating in Budapest, more than 300 can be found on the map of www.geospace.hu. The Geospace.hu project has helped in the creation of the map free of charge, but to have a complete picture, we ask for the help of the public. Mark on the map where cameras can be found, take pictures of them and upload these to the map. Since in a few districts (X. and XIII.) cameras are unlawfully operated by others than the police, there is no available data on those. The HCLU has initiated, and won lawsuits against those districts in first instance decisions.

There is very little data available on CCTV systems, so we can only be sure of three things:

1. The CCTV restricts citizens from practicing their right to informational autonomy

2. The necessity and proportionality (constitutionality) of the CCTV is not supported by anything, as no study has ever been completed in Hungary on the effects the cameras have on crime, or whether there are other means -namely ones that don’t squelch on people’s privacy- of reducing crime.

3. CCTVs are exteremely expensive. In Zugló (a district of Budapest), 68 cameras were installed in 2006 for 160 million forints. Operational costs also come to millions of forints each year.

By creating the map, the goal of the HCLU and geospace.hu was to inform the public about where and how they are being watched.

The HCLU would like to raise awareness and would like to advance, that citizens are not kept in the dark regarding these restrictions costing millions. Through the Internet, citizens will noe be able to monitor those monitoring them.

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