13 June 2011
Privacy, Lies and Videotape
A small - and personal - clarification about a recent article in the British press:
In their apparently ceaseless effort to prevent British subjects from ever setting foot in the Algarve again, the McCanns (conveniently) forget that the main reason that there are no cctv cameras in any public places, on Portuguese soil, is a Constitutional safeguard: the very same safeguard that they (conveniently) used to justify their attempt to silence former Judiciary Police coordinator Gonçalo Amaral.
The absence of cctv cameras covering public areas in Portugal is due to our strict privacy laws, which protect our citizens' personality and private life, and rule out any type of unauthorized capture of image and/or sound in public areas.
Naturally, there are some people in Portugal who would be prepared to give up some of that privacy, if indeed the presence of cctv cameras would help reduce the crime rate, acting as a factor to dissuade potential criminals. But it seems that there is no guarantee that this would be the case - as abundant examples, precisely from the UK, seem to indicate.
The debate about cctv cameras in public areas will continue in Portugal, independently of the opinion of prominent couples in England and their obedient newspapers. It is not a debate about cost; it is a debate about moral values and ethics. It is a debate about fundamental principles that many are not ready to sacrifice.