Home News “Safe City system will not violate human rights”– Govt
The Public Telecommunications Ministry on Friday assured members of the public that it’s Safe City Project, which saw the installation of scores of cameras around Georgetown and the country’s main ports of entry, will not violate human rights.
Since its commissioning back in July, persons have raised concerns about their personal data being accessed through the project, but the Ministry has laid all these fears to rest.
According to the Telecommunications Ministry, facial recognition technology will only be deployed at the official ports of entry including the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Timehri, East Bank Demerara, the Eugene F Correia International Airport in Ogle, East Coast Demerara, and at the Moleson Creek Ferry Crossing, East Berbice-Corentyne.
It said that the cameras set up in public spaces are very different from those installed at the ports of entries. In fact, while those on the streets are “of extremely high quality” they are not equipped for automatic face recognition.
The Government has no plans to install face recognition cameras in the streets of Georgetown in the “foreseeable future” according to the Ministry.
“We also wish to assure the public that personal data stored by agencies such as the Central Immigration and Passport Office, Guyana Elections Commission and Guyana Revenue Authority, have not been and will not be shared under this project. In fact, the laws and regulations that govern these agencies prevent unauthorised sharing of such data”, the Telecommunications Ministry stated.
The Ministry went on to assure that access to the CCTV network of cameras is only possible by authorised security personnel who are stringently examined before they are assigned to the Command Centre.
In addition, their operations will be guided by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) being developed by the consulting team of UK security experts.
The SoPs will comprise of adherence to an agreed set of security standards and operating practices, with strict, limited and supervised access to the operations of the Command Centre. Strong penalties are also in place for persons who breach these requirements, the Ministry pointed out.
On the other hand, it was noted that the Safe City Project operates on an independent Government-owned fibre optic network managed by the National Data Management Authority (NDMA), an umbrella agency of the Telecommunications Ministry.
“It has no points of entry or gateways for any third party – individuals or companies. This network is physically independent with all trunking and cabling standing alone. It is physically isolated from the eGovernment platform which provides connectivity to Government institutions, agencies, schools, health and other public facilities,” the Ministry stated.
On July 26, the multimillion-dollar Command Centre in Liliendaal was activated with the intent of monitoring criminals, suspects, and vehicles involved in crimes.
Back then, subject Minister Cathy Hughes explained that it was two years ago that this project, through the country’s National Broadband Strategy and Programme, was started and is funded by the China Exim (Export-Import) Bank and implemented through the services of Huawei.