Justice Ministry: Cameras violate privacy

Police plans for school surveillance come under fire.

August 16, 2010 01:56
2 minute read.
Security camera

security camera 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Police plans to set up a pilot scheme involving the installation of CCTV cameras in 12 schools this year came under fire from the Ministry of Justice’s Public Defense unit on Sunday.

Under the pilot scheme, police will link up cameras overlooking school buildings and playgrounds to regional police commands and municipal control centers.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Police place cameras in 12 schools

The initiative is aimed at enabling police to respond rapidly to incidents of student violence or terrorist attacks.

The camera project is funded by the Education Ministry, Interior Ministry, local authorities and the Israel Police. At the end of the school year, authorities will meet to decide whether to expand the initiative to more schools.

But Justice’s Public Defense unit said the pilot lacked proper government oversight and harmed students’ rights to privacy.

In a letter sent to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, the unit said, “Despite the sensitivities involved, there has been no effort made to regulate the hastened move of installing cameras and operating them in a way that will obligate the Israel Police and the various municipalities.”

“It seems considerations based on protection of privacy, including the need to minimize the use of the cameras and giving preference to alternative means, or limiting their use in certain areas, hardly received attention,” the letter continued.

The authors went on to call for government legislation to regulate the use of police video monitoring of the public, and protested what they described as “creating facts on the ground” through pilot schemes.

The project is run by the Israel Police’s Security Division, and is the latest in a series of steps designed to improve security for schools.

Recent steps have included increased training for school security guards, with an emphasis on firearms training and self-defense, and personal communications courses for the guards.

School guards will also be equipped with pepper spray this coming school year.

The City Without Violence Program, which is backed by the Public Security Ministry, police, schools, social services, and others, has led the way in CCTV camera installations in Israel.

Under the program, cameras in 78 regional councils and cities have been installed over recent months and years, which transmit their images to municipal control rooms. The presence of the cameras has led to reductions in street crime, the program’s backers have said.

The pilot comes on the heels of a survey carried out by police in local authorities and the Education Ministry.

The schools that will participate in the pilot will represent Israel’s diverse communities, and will include Jewish, Muslim, secular, and religious schools. The Education Ministry drew up the list.

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town