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The INDECT project is like a gun, 19 April 2012

INDECT Project is like a gun – it may be used for wrong purposes, but that does not mean that it must happen.

The INDECT, i.e. “Intelligent information system supporting observation, search and detection for the security of citizens in city environment” project, carried out by several universities under the auspices of AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow is one of the scientific projects aiming at the creation of advanced technological and IT tools supporting the activity of law enforcement authorities related to public security. Similar projects are carried out e.g. by the scientists from the Gdansk University of Technology (the KASKADA system, forming a part of the Mayday Euro 2012 project) and by a team of experts composed of representatives of universities, scientific and research centres, companies and institutions acting towards public security (Polish Internal Security Platform).
The Inspector General for Personal Data Protection (GIODO), Dr Wojciech Rafał Wiewiórowski, has been keeping a close watch on such works, as he explained during the morning interview of Channel 1 of the Polish Radio. He underlined that even though so far no personal data is processed in the INDECT project, a tool which is being created will enable such processing, e.g. by combining databases maintained by law enforcement authorities.
– Speaking metaphorically, a gun is being produced. So far, it has not been loaded, so its producer can claim that it is safe if there are no bullets – explained Mr Wiewiórowski. – However, the purpose of its production is to load it, and personal data will be the bullets – he added.
Hence, in GIODO’s opinion, the INDECT project gives rise to two risks. The first one is related to the use of data held by the authorities dealing with security protection and the boundaries within which such authorities may operate. The other is related to the possible commercialization of the project – in this case, the most important thing will be the specification to what extent other entities may use such tools.
Dr Wojciech Rafał Wiewiórowski underlined, however, that any tool may be used for wrong purposes, but that does not mean it must happen.
The interview was conducted by Roman Czejarek and Krzysztof Grzesiowski.

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