High-tech cameras have been installed by Nicosia municipality along key urban arteries under the “Smart Cities” plan, which will record average vehicle speeds, pedestrian flows and “prevent vandalism”.
Monday’s announcement by the municipality stated that the cameras have been installed along the roads of Kyriakou Matsi, Stasikratous and Makarios avenues.
They are not yet operational as final configurations are taking place, while the municipality sought to assuage concerns over personal data and privacy.
The data recorded by the EU funded project “does not constitute a matter of personal data as they are stored in a very specific manner for statistical purposes”, the announcement read.
“The municipality, always mindful of issues related to personal data protection, has already submitted a completed evaluation in cooperation with the relevant legal office on issues related to protecting personal data,” it said.
It further stated that only once it has been given the green light will the municipality activate the cameras, at which point the appropriate signs to inform the public will also be installed.
Reaction to the announcement was lukewarm, with some warning of “big brother” and “brave new world”, while others pointed out that a key road leading towards the presidential palace is now potentially monitored by high-tech cameras.
“So if a demonstration happens at the presidential palace, as many have passed by the road during previous protests, they’ll be able to clearly identify those present,” another social media user commented on the post.
According to the European Commission, smart cities are places where “traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital solutions for the benefit of its inhabitants and business.
“It also means a more interactive and responsive city administration, safer public spaces and meeting the needs of an ageing population,” the commission said.