A proposal to change surveillance laws has been the occasion for some skirmishes between the Pirate and Socialist parties in City Hall. Vísir reports.
Reykjavík City Council approved an agreement earlier this March between the City of Reykjavík, capital area police, and emergency services to increase surveillance cameras in downtown Reykjavík. The decision came in anticipation of the upcoming Council of Europe, to be held in Reykjavík May 16-17.
With some 46 nations party to the Council of Europe, Reykjavík will be hosting a number of delegates this May to discuss the War in Ukraine, human rights, and the security situation in Europe. Due to the number of delegates expected, the decision was made to increase security measures, especially surveillance cameras.
“Betraying their stance” on surveillance
Yesterday, March 21, an amendment to the recent surveillance bill was submitted to Reykjavík City Council by the Socialist Party, which would make the review of surveillance measures in Reykjavík an annual process. As it currently stands, surveillance measures in Reykjavík are only up for review every five years.
The Socialist Party has been the only opposition to this legislation, and now they are accusing the Pirate party of abandoning its stance on surveillance.
Pirates voted against the proposal
Magnús Davið Norðdahl, representative for the Pirate Party, presided over the submission of the amendment. Two other Pirate Party members voted against the proposal.
Now, representatives from the Socialist Party and saying that the Pirates have made a mistake in not approving the proposal.
Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir stated to Vísir: “It really surprises me. Having heard their policy, they have spoken out against this kind of surveillance before, so I find this very peculiar.”
Sanna also stated that further discussion will be needed to ensure that surveillance cameras do not violate personal privacy: “Having looked into the matter, there are a lot of them [cameras]. It’s surprising how many there are. I believe that we should instead get to the root of the problem in order to ensure safety in the city, that we then need to consider all kinds of factors that promote or actually reduce safety in the urban environment rather than having surveillance cameras. Surveillance is not going to ensure that we live in a safe society or feel that we live in a safe community.”