Fine imposed on Greek police for illegal monitoring

October 10, 2007

The Hellenic Data Protection Authority, an independent administrative body, has been operating in Greece since November 1997.

The mission of the Authority is to supervise the implementation of acts and regulations imposed in Greece for the protection of the individual with respect to the processing of personal data.

The Authority has imposed a fine of €3,000 on the Greek police for using traffic cameras to monitor a student protest in Athens earlier this year even though the use of CCTV systems for monitoring people has been banned.

It was also found that images from some of the cameras were kept for more than seven days, thereby breaking privacy rules.

High ranking police officers have denied that the cameras have been used for anything other than monitoring traffic, and an appeal has been lodged. They also insisted that anything recorded by the cameras was deleted within seven days.

Officers said that not even traffic violations were confirmed using footage obtained from the cameras. There are 550 traffic cameras in Athens but only 198 are actually used by the police.

Of these, 110 have been damaged by arsonists, which means that the police can only use 88 cameras to monitor traffic on the capital’s busy streets.

Greece spent approximately €250m on the surveillance package for the Athens Olympics in 2004, part of which consisted of almost 300 CCTV cameras that have not been used since the Games due to the intervention of the privacy watchdog.


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