Commotion about the camera towers

The arrival of eight camera towers on campus has not gone unnoticed. Stip and D66 have their doubts and there have been calls online to have the cameras removed.

Visitors to the campus are filmed from a height of six metres. This what the operator in the Emergency Call Centre sees. (Photo: TU Delft)

Last week, TU Delft made the measures taken to make the campus corona proof known. The one that stood out was the monitoring of people in busy spaces through specially installed cameras.

Food for debate
This step was food for debate. JOVD Delft, a liberal youth organisation linked to the VVD political party, wrote an open letter to the Executive Board requesting the cameras to be removed. They also asked the Executive Board to explain in more detail why the cameras are ‘deemed absolutely necessary and what criteria the evaluation will be based on’.

Two parties in the municipal executive, Stip and D66, also have their doubts about the measure and submitted questions in writing (in Dutch) to the municipal executive about the cameras. “One thing we want to know is the role that the municipality played in this,” said Stip council member Marcel Harinck.

‘Serious breach of the privacy of students and staff’

On campus, students expressed their concerns on social media. Delta has received dozens of responses to its Instagram message. It was also shared hundreds of times. Students call the measure ‘disgusting’ and ‘scary’ and ask if it breaches privacy laws.

Given all the commotion, Mechanical Engineering student Lasse Hope started a petition. ‘The camera towers recently placed by TU Delft have caused a serious breach of privacy of students and staff,’ he writes. Hope calls on students and staff to sign the petition ‘so that nobody has the feeling that they are continuously being watched.’

Delta sent some follow-up questions to a TU Delft press officer. Was any research done before the decision was taken? Why was it decided to use cameras and not additional personnel? How many cameras are there on campus in total and what are they used for?

As yet, no answers have been received. The press officer did state that the starting point is a safe campus for everyone. Delta did, however, receive a different answer than what TU Delft had stated previously and what is given in the frequently asked questions document. The press officer now says that the cameras are only being installed “as a warning to show where it is too busy to keep distance. We can then act on time and divert the traffic. They are not intended to enforce the one-and-a-half metre rule.”

To be continued.

Editor Redactie

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