Solihull school installs CCTV in children's toilets
9th March 2010 17:21 | by Andrew Robinson
While catching up on local news, I was shocked to read that a school near my home town of Worcester has installed CCTV in the children's toilets.
I wasn't shocked that it happened, because I have read so many stories recently about people in low level positions of authority who assume they have a 'right to spy' that trumps any else's right to privacy. What shocked me was the headline itself. It didn't say "Headmaster arrested for installing CCTV in children's toilets", or "Headmaster resigns after being caught installing CCTV in children's toilets." It didn't even say "Headmaster apologises after installing CCTV in children's toilets." Instead the headline was a plain and unadorned "Chelmsley Wood school puts CCTV in pupil toilets."
It's time for us to decide what sort of world we want our children to grow up in. Do we want them to learn by example that privacy is not a basic human right, or a guiding principle that the law proudly upholds, but a forgotten dream? Or is it time to say enough is enough?
We are in danger of sleepwalking into a surveillance state. The school may not have broken any law, but that does not mean that we must accept this as just the latest step in the unstoppable erosion of our right to privacy. I believe it means that a law that sets reasonable, clearly defined limits on this sort of spying is long overdue. Unless we have that law, we will be powerless against the likes of Steve Chase, chief executive of Grace Academy, and his omnipresent cameras. He said, with no hint of sarcasm that the Sunday Mercury mentioned in their report, that the cameras were fitted 'due to health and safety concerns'.
I believe that we need to protect our children from the likes of Steve Chase. If you believe that too, then it's time to vote Pirate.