Building on its ongoing initiative for a responsible and democratic use of video-surveillance, the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) has created a new working group on technologies, in which interested members are invited to participate.
Technologies are increasingly part of our daily urban life, and are thus an important working theme for Efus. They offer a wide range of opportunities, but they also pose new threats. For instance, they provide new security tools, but these raise questions of efficiency and ethics. Through internet and social networks, they create new, virtual public spaces and new forms of life in society, which create new opportunities for social cohesion and democratic participation, but also new forms of control and crime. They provide us with an increasingly sophisticated and performing infrastructure, but it comes with new vulnerabilities and risks. All these developments strongly influence how we comprehend issues of security and safety.
Efus’ Executive Committee decided the creation of this working group in order to provide the Forum with a platform to continue and develop its work on these issues.
The catalyst for this decision is the fact that Efus participates in the new European research project “SURVEILLLE” about the ethics and efficiency of surveillance technologies, which is a direct follow up of the previous European research project “DETECTER”. Given the important developments in this field, SURVEILLE wants to investigate the societal and ethical aspects of surveillance systems, and focus on their undesired side effects. Moreover, it wants to assess the effectiveness of these technologies in fighting crime. These are the two main questions policy makers and practitioners in charge of security and safety ask themselves.
The project is an opportunity for members of the Forum to obtain direct access to the state of the art of research in this field, but also to give feedback on their views on, their wishes for, and their experiences with these technologies. The working group will accompany the SURVEILLE project, and provide input and feedback. Its members will be invited to participate in its annual Forum for European decision makers, which will take place each September in Brussels.
While most issues will actually be dealt with in the context of the SURVEILLE project, the Efus working group on technologies will go beyond the project and become the platform to continue and develop the initiative of the Forum in this field:
- The working group will accompany the work led by Efus in relation to the Charter for a democratic use of video-surveillance. It will deal with its dissemination but also with developing new iniatives in order to help cities to implement its principles.
- It will work on generalising the Charter on video-surveillance in order to elaborate in the future a comprehensive Charter on security technologies.
- Since security technologies will be one of the important themes of the Efus’ 2012 “Conference on the future of prevention”, the group will also play an advisory role in order to participate in the preparation of this topic for the conference.
- In particular, one of its most relevant assignments will be to prepare the draft of the chapter on technologies that will be part of the Manifesto slated to be released at the end of the 2012 conference.
- The working group will also collaborate with the Forum in developing training offers in the field of technologies, in particular within the European Certificate in Urban Security at Master’s level that it is currently developing with six European universities.
The working group will be composed of elected representatives of the Forum’s member cities, including technical staff who are directly working with these technologies. It will also include organisms working in partnership with cities, such as the police and public transport companies, among others.
The working group will gather at least once a year for a one-day meeting. Travel and subsistence costs will be paid. Other meetings will also take place in relation with events organised by Efus, such as its yearly General Assembly. Moreover, working group members will have the opportunity to participate in thematic meetings of the SURVEILLE project.
A short kick-off meeting will be held on the occasion of Efus’ General Assembly 2012, on 7 June 2012, in Brussels (Belgium).
If you are interested in participating in this working group please contact Sebastian Sperber at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information…
…on the SURVEILLE project, please consult its main website at: www.surveille.eu
…on the previous DETECTER project, please watch the video below
…on the initiative of the European Forum for a democratic and responsible use of CCTV in European cities, see: www.cctvcharter.eu