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How Covid-19 research funding is helping NZ police track people with CCTV

Covid-19 research money is going towards enabling police to track people using CCTV more easily.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said it would build on existing ways of using video footage. Source: rnz.co.nz

The $100,000 project by an Auckland company Safer Cities is under the Government's $25m pandemic research fund.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said it would build on existing ways of using video footage.

People and businesses often voluntarily provided police with their live or recorded video footage, it said.

Officers generally had to access the footage in person, "putting people at risk" if there were an outbreak.

"This platform aims to provide a digital, contactless connection, enabling police investigations to continue to operate without compromising any social distancing rules in place under various alert level conditions.

"It is important to note that the platform only uses community uploads (voluntary opt-in) and does not give users the ability to download information without permission."

It was subject to privacy laws and other regulations.

Safer Cities referred RNZ's query back to the MBIE.

In May, the police ordered a stocktake of surveillance technologies after controversy over their trialling of facial recognition software.

Extra CCTV cameras had been expected to be put on Auckland streets in the run-up to the APEC leaders meeting in 2021.

However, that meeting has since been made into a virtual one only, due to travel disruption by Covid-19.

The ministry lists about 40 projects worth $19m approved so far under the Covid-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund.

rnz.co.nz