Gov’t looking at surveillance

Government is looking at the possibility of introducing a wireless video surveillance system in the Cayman Islands.

Eric Bush of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs confirmed a small amount of money has been allocated to do an initial survey.

‘Cayman is fortunate to have relatively low crime, but having extra eyes and ears on the streets could be beneficial. We are currently looking at all the options with the view to determining which system would best suit our community and produce a better law enforcement product.’

Wireless mesh networks are becoming an increasing prevalent feature in countries around the world. Video surveillance systems can mean that police departments need fewer officers on the street and they can also act as a deterrent to crime.

The wireless video recorders can be installed quickly and easily and placed in areas where there are large concentrations of people or where criminal activity is believed to be taking place. The images can then be beamed to a central location or even to the vehicles of mission critical users such as police, fire, customs and immigration officers.

There are countless applications for the technology. Speed cameras can be linked to the network and theoretically even the electric company can remotely monitor their meters and shut of valves.

Mr. Bush explained, ‘Officers might actually be able to watch a monitor as they respond to a crime scene or an incident. We believe it could have many functions and turn out to be a valuable public safety product.’

The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs is still at the analysis stage and they are now seeking advice on how the system could work in Cayman.

‘We are looking at the lay out of the land, things like how we could integrate it with our existing technology and communications infrastructure and also what additional equipment would be needed to make it work.’

Mr. Bush said they would be reporting back to Cabinet at the beginning of the next financial year and a decision will then be taken on how, and if, the mesh system moves forward.

Clearly there will be some debate over the inevitable big brother is watching issue and the right to privacy. This will be weighed against the potential benefits to the community the technology may bring.

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