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Why are gardaí wearing cameras at water meter protests?

According to gardaí, it’s nothing new.

ALMOST EVERY DAY, reams of footage and images from protests against the installation of water meters appear on social media.

It’s something the powers that be are aware of, with Minister Joan Burton infamously noting that they are being recorded using “expensive phones”.

Broadsheet.ie reported today that the tables have turned, and that gardaí attending these protests are now wearing small cameras on their uniforms.

The website notes that the models used are pretty pricey.

However, it means that any accusations made by either side can now be backed up using the raw footage.

Some have accused gardaí of being heavy-handed, while others believe on some occasions peaceful protests have had more vicious elements.

Why are gardaí wearing cameras at water meter protests?
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  • Cameras

    Stills from footage uploaded to YouTube by Dublin Says No.Source: Dublin Says No
  • Cameras

    Stills from footage uploaded to YouTube by Dublin Says No.Source: Dublin Says No

 

You might have some questions on the use of these cameras. We talked to those in the know…

Is it new?

A spokesperson for An Garda Siochana told TheJournal.ie that “this is nothing new and we have been doing it for some time”.

Gardaí use video and imaging equipment routinely, for example in documenting a crime scene, although not all gardaí wear cameras.

Protests have been recorded in this manner on several occasions in the past, such as during Shell-to-Sea demonstrations.

What will the footage be used for?

It is likely to only appear in court proceedings, if necessary.

Gardaí simply use it for “evidence gathering”, and the footage is not published anywhere.

What does the Data Protection Commission have to say?

This was one question raised by Chairman of the independent civil liberties group Digital Rights Ireland TJ McIntyre on Twitter.

“Gardaí always comply with Data Protection and Human Rights legislation,” the spokesperson said.

The DPC’s office said that “there is no requirement under the Data Protection Acts for An Garda Siochana to consult with us in this matter”, but said that without knowing the “full facts” of their usage, the office was unable to offer a view.

How much are these cameras?

LE3_Front Source: VIEVU

They don’t come cheap. Broadsheet.ie identified them as a Vievu LE3. These can cost up to $900 dollars a pop.

The manufacturer notes that this model is used “by over 4000 police agencies worldwide”.

It can record up to 12 hours of footage with an extended battery pack. The cameras are waterproof, ‘rugged’, and record a 68 degree field of view.

Originally published 5.26pm

Read: This Cork man is on hunger strike to protest against the water charges >

More: The government is giving most people part of their water charges back >

Footage: Joan Burton is, in fact, “delighted” that people have expensive phones and cameras >

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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