Press Release 31 March 2022

Press Release 31 March 2022

German cities are forced to implement video surveillance that complies with data protection rules

Protecting “freedom of assembly” with the data protection shutter

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Regensburg (Germany), 31 March 2022 – Back in March 2020, the Higher Administrative Court for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) issued the following decision, citing Article 8 of the Grundgesetz, the German Constitution: In the case of peaceful assemblies, fixed position video surveillance systems for all participants must be deactivated in a manner that is visible at a distance. Since then, a growing number of German cities have begun relying on the Panomera® cameras with "data protection shutter" from the German video technology manufacturer Dallmeier. The reason: Maximum protection of individual rights for minimum expense.

Protecting individual rights during peaceful assembly
Since the decision by the NRW Higher Administration Court in March 2020 (file number: 15 A 1139/19), German operators of immovable video cameras that are installed in public areas are obliged to deactivate them during public assemblies in a way that is "visible at a distance". The objective is to remove an intimidating or deterrent effect on the participants in the assembly. However, the conventional procedure for obvious deactivation of video surveillance – usually a simple covering with a burlap sack placed by a man on a cherry picker – entails a considerable extra logistical and financial burden for the municipality. Given that on average 200-300 such assemblies are held every year in a typical large city, the additional expense quickly rises into the region of six figures.

The "data protection shutter" from Germany
In order to guarantee freedom of assembly at reasonable cost despite the present of installed video cameras, the number of German cities which have placed their confidence in the "Panomera® Privacy Shield" by the German video technology manufacturer Dallmeier has now risen to twelve, including Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Offenbach and Darmstadt. Made from a special, non-transparent material and coloured bright yellow, the shutter obscures the lenses of the Dallmeier Panomera® camera systems within a few moments and at the click of a mouse. An Icon printed on the shutter shows unequivocally and in a manner that is clearly visible from a distance: Video surveillance is not being conducted here. When the demonstration or rally is over, the police and security management can reverse the measure in a matter of seconds from the control centre.

"We are not directly bound by the NRW ruling, but we can't ignore it, and it is as well to be prepared, since a similar action may possibly have a prospect of success against us as well," says Mr Peter Weigand, Direct of the Public Order Office, Offenbach. "But we are not merely interested in satisfying legal requirements, we are concerned most importantly and mainly to be able to give our citizens the ability to exercise their basic right to freedom of assembly without interference. The "Privacy Shield" enables us to do this, by remote control, as it were, and at no additional manpower cost."

"Peaceful demonstrations and rallies are an essential fundamental right in any democracy. Therefore, it was a matter of importance to us as a German manufacturer of video security technology to bring the advantages of urban video surveillance with regard to crime hotspots into harmony with the current legislation on data protection", explains Frank Salder, Managing Director of the Dallmeier Systems branch office in Gladbeck and Safe City expert for the Dallmeier Group of Companies. "Thanks to the Panomera® Privacy Shield, citizens have this assurance, which is visible at distance – and at the same time the municipalities save substantial costs compared with conventional solutions."

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About Dallmeier

Dallmeier is the only manufacturer of video security technology that develops and manufactures all components in Germany. This includes the entire product range, from cameras to picture storage and transmission to intelligent video analysis and even individually adjusted management software. Quality made by Dallmeier, made in Germany!

Dallmeier has at its disposal more than 35 years of experience in transmission, recording as well as picture processing technology and is a leading pioneer of CCTV/IP solutions worldwide. This profound knowledge is used in the development of intelligent software and high-quality recorder and camera technologies enabling Dallmeier to not only offer stand-alone systems, but complete network solutions up to large-scale projects with perfectly integrated component. Right from the beginning the company always focused on own innovative developments and highest quality and reliability.

Over the years, Dallmeier has repeatedly given fresh impetus to the market with new developments and extraordinary innovations. The world’s first DVR for example, which introduced digital recording to the entire CCTV industry more than 25 years ago, came from Dallmeier. The introduction of the patented multifocal sensor system Panomera® has had a similarly ground-breaking effect, ushering in a new era for the industry. This unique camera technology is revolutionising the market and opening up completely new possibilities for securing assets, optimising business operations and ensuring public safety. This and the extensive experience in the CCTV and IP field have led to a top position in the international market for digital video surveillance systems.

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