47,000 CCTV cameras at British schools

September 12, 2012 12:45 pm
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The full extent of school surveillance was far higher than we had expected/XINHUA-File
LONDON, Sep 12 – At least 47,000 CCTV cameras are installed at British schools and more than 200 have cameras in their toilets or changing rooms, data revealed on Wednesday, sparking concerns about children’s privacy.

There is an average of one camera for every 38 children at schools across England, Scotland and Wales, said pressure group Big Brother Watch, which gathered data from 2,107 schools under freedom of information legislation.

“This research raises serious questions about the privacy of schoolchildren across Britain, with some schools having one camera for every five pupils,” said Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles.

“The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than we had expected,” he added. “Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage.”

“Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage”

In total, 90 percent of the surveyed schools used CCTV. The group estimated that the total number of cameras across British secondary schools is higher than 100,000.

But Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of parenting website Netmums, defended the use of CCTV in schools – including in toilets and changing rooms.

“I think everybody realises that this is not in the cubicles, it is in the open areas – and actually, that’s where a lot of bullying and difficult behaviour takes place,” she said.

“It is an area where teachers are not likely to be. Parents are probably quite pleased about it.”

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