Vumacam MD insists private CCTV video feeds across Jozi are in line with the law

The newly unveiled CCTV platform by technology company Vumatel, known as Vumacam, has come under great public scrutiny.

The CCTV system, currently exclusive to Johannesburg, consists of a network of close to 1 000 cameras covering 48 suburbs.

How does it work?

There are 980 camera poles that have been installed around the city, and the long-term aim is to operate hundreds more.

The video feeds from Vumacam’s CCTV system are sold to private security companies and other clients for a monthly fee.

These clients include CAP Security, Beagle Watch, 7Arrows and ADT, says Vumacam’s managing director, Ashleigh Parry.

Parry says the aim of the service is to provide the video management system to help make neighbourhoods safer.

But is it legal?

Some have complained that the CCTV cameras, which serve private companies and not the state, are encroaching on the right to privacy.

Lobby group Right2Know (R2K) says the collection and sale of information to third parties without a person's consent infringes the law.

R2K spokesperson Murray Hunter says there is no oversight over the surveillance and security industry, resulting in poor accountability and transparency.

Unchecked surveillance has become a seriosu threat to democratic principals in the 21st Century

Murray Hunter, Spokesperson - Right2Know campaign

There's a city-wide surveillance programme set up by a private company without public engagement.

Murray Hunter, Spokesperson - Right2Know campaign

We have concerns that this is not in line with the law. We don't this is in line with Popi... and there's not a regulator that we can go to.

Murray Hunter, Spokesperson - Right2Know campaign

Meanwhile, Parry says the CCTV system adheres to the Protection of Personal Information (Popi) in the most conservative legal interpretation.

The Vumacam boss adds that the company has engaged with several entities within the City of Johannesburg for the go-ahead.

The cameras will stream the consistent feed that will go through to one of our client's control rooms.

Ashleigh Parry, Managing director - Vumacam

We don't sit and watch the video feed. We provide it to our clients.

Ashleigh Parry, Managing director - Vumacam

It's not necessarily about consent, it's about abiding by the regulations.

Ashleigh Parry, Managing director - Vumacam

The debate explores the legalities and ethics of the city-wide CCTV network.

Listen to the in-depth discussion on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:


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