Redzone and CCTV Surveillance

19 02 2011

Another of the cannards the Redzoneophiles like to pull is CCTV camera surveillance which is so much more intrusive than their spyware.

Whilst two wrongs don’t make a right (although three lefts do), let’s look at this one quickly. Here is an example:

The moment your car pulls into the store or mall’s parking lot, their security cameras are watching you

Now in Europe, at least, we have data protection law. For instance, in the UK, all such cameras are covered by the data protection act. You will remember the principles of the act, if you have been following this blog. But in brief, data collection must be fair, and within that definition, those under surveillance must be made aware of the “data collection” (i.e. the filming). So warning signs are important and no hidden cameras.

But more importantly, you retain the right to access to all data pertaining to yourself. Thus under the DPA, I can request a copy of any surveillance tape that includes my image. Moreover the images of others on the tape should be edited out. The cost of this must be born by the data controller although they may charge me up to £10.00 in costs.

In cases where I feel a camera is entirely unwarranted and intrusive, I have been known to make use of my entitlement under the act. In all cases to date, the data controller has agreed to voluntarily remove the camera rather than pay for editing of the tapes to meet request.

So, you see, CCTV – in Europe at least – comes with some very important privacy protections. They may be underused, but they exist.

zFire’s database is subject to the same rules, but thus far he has failed to reply to me as to how I may access a copy of all personal data he holds on me.




4 responses

19 02 2011
Nelson Jenkins

I would be surprised if zFire actually replies to your message. He has yet to contact me about it either, since I won’t pay hard-earned cash and risk even further datamining by visiting his website to find out myself.

There are also similar laws here in the US, but I don’t believe requesting to see the tape is typically permitted. My guess is a court order would be required. (But I’m no lawyer, so I may be wrong here.) In any case, the signs and whatnot are required.

20 02 2011

Not to forget one thing …

Would you want to compare RZ with those cameras, than you would have to use the following picture:

No matter where you visit in Europe, all stores have cameras and will upload their trackings to one central server. This server is totally opaque to you. You have no change to see what is stored about you, you cannot force the operators to delete you data. You have no idea how this data is meshed together.

Such a thing would be absolutely illegal in Europe. Under no circumstances could you get away without the following:
– Allow tracked person to see the records about them.
– Give them an opportunity to challenge your data. Eg you have to update it, or delete it on request.
– Inform visitor about what you track, when you do, clearly state your policies, and how you protect your data and with whom you share it, what you share and when.
– Give them a chance to opt out before you do anything, or let them opt in to do it.

20 02 2011

“zFire’s database is subject to the same rules, but thus far he has failed to reply to me as to how I may access a copy of all personal data he holds on me.”

Couldn’t you exercise your DPA rights to force zFire Xue to comply with them, or face legal trouble? I know it’s outside the UK’s jurisdiction, but perhaps being contacted by your country’s law enforcement or a lawyer, or something of that nature would make this guy nervous, perhaps pull the plug? Probably not, but its worth an attempt it seems?

20 02 2011

We could argue all day about whether data protection laws in the EU would apply to “virtual persons”, but for me the whole argument we have with RZ is beautifully summarised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

I feel that RZ has
1) arbitrary interfered with my correspondence by recording and retaining indefinitely my IP address for reasons that I have not agreed to;
2) arbitrary interfered with my privacy by using the recorded IP address in order to trace my private affairs, such as having multiple alts in SL; and
3) attacked my honour and reputation amongst users or RZ by implying malfeasance on my part by virtue of my choice to register multiple alts with LL

Again, difficult to take it to a court of law, but I reckon it’s spot on.

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