The JOVD Delft (Youth Organisation for Freedom and Democracy) Committee believes it is disproportionate that TU Delft has placed eight cameras to enforce the corona policy (Delta, 28 August 2020). TU Delft says that the purpose of the cameras is to ‘protect the health of the students, staff and visitors’. JOVD Delft supports this goal entirely, but believes that this can also be achieved with less far-reaching means.
TU Delft itself reports that all sorts of measures have been taken to remind people on campus to maintain the one-and-a-half metre distance. G4S, the company tasked with the security on campus will also deploy additional personnel around campus. The question then arises why cameras are needed above these measures. TU Delft even acknowledges that it is difficult to see the distance between people on the images. Are the extra G4S staff members not able to issue warnings if it is too crowded?
Vice-Rector Magnificus Rob Mudde also said that the cameras would be hung about seven metres high. He explained that the advantage of this is that it limits facial recognition. This advantage though, seems smaller than expected, as transpires from the FAQ about the new camera policy. The cameras are actually fixed at six metres and visitors to the campus will ‘be recognisable on the images’. As the images are not stored, they cannot be anonymised. The former is admirable, the latter is even more reason to scrap the camera policy.
Even the evaluation is questionable. If cameras are used from the start of the academic year, their effect may be hard to determine after two months. JOVD Delft fears that the cameras will then be seen as a successful part of the security measures, resulting in them staying put.
Hence, the JOVD Delft Committee is calling on the Executive Board to start the academic year without the eight new cameras. We are also calling on the board to further explain why the cameras are deemed essential and the criteria to be used in the evaluation.
Machiel van der Wal, Chair JOVD Delft
- The JOVD is a liberal youth organisation that is linked to the VVD political party, but is politically entirely independent.