Selective memory at bexley council

Bexley webcastThis is slightly old news but I just found out about it from Bexley Councils shiny propaganda sheet. Some of you may recall that Olly Cromwell got into trouble for trying to film the council so much so that they called the police on him. Back in June of 2013 filming the council was banned in August Eric Pickles told them off over the matter. So as late as August 2013 filming was banned, and the likes of Olly Cromwell were being banned and chucked out of attending public meetings, yet by November of the very same year all that vanished from the collective council memory and apparently:

“We have never been opposed to the principle of recording meetings and the vast majority of our meetings have always been open to anyone who wants to attend,” explained Council Leader, Cllr Teresa O’Neill.

Nope calling the police to stop someone filming clearly shows how they were never opposed to the principle. Just 6 months to air brush such activity from their collective memory.

Now they’re in their new building they’ve contracted out making webcasts to public-i who it seems have been doing this sort of thing for a while, and we can all enjoy (what I’m sure are unedited) videos of council goings on over at:
Where they are quite clear that you mustn’t download the video footage or do anything much with it as they own it.

All webcast footage is the copyright of the London Borough of Bexley. Webcasts for which we have provided the embed code can be hosted in full on another website. However, you are not permitted to download footage nor upload it to another website without the written permission of the London Borough of Bexley. Please be aware that video sharing websites require you to have the permission of the copyright owner in order to upload videos to their site.

Still I guess it’s a step in the right direction, shame they couldn’t even make provision for fair usage for reporting and the like. though a quick review of the videos posted to date don’t reveal any of them as having “the embed code”, so none are allowed to be “hosted” elsewhere. I’ll ignore the fact that if you use embedded video they’re still hosting it, not the web site with the embedded code on.

If you want to toddle along and film one of the public meetings well good news:

Councillors also agreed a protocol on the recording of meetings by third parties, which contains safeguards for members of the public and junior staff.

Unfortunately so far I’ve not been able to find this protocol on the councils website anywhere. Though the discussion document regarding filming contains a few gems and clearly shows that whilst they may “have never been opposed to the principle of recording meetings” they’re really not exactly keen on it. My favourite bit given the experiences of Olly Cromwell and Bexley is bonkers though is this gem:
“Whilst the Council remains one of the most open, transparent and directly accountable organisations”.

One of the problems they cite with allowing us unwashed masses to record filming is because we’ve apparently caused disruption in the past (presumably when objecting to being chucked out), but they acknowledge that as recording devices have got smaller and more ubiquitous they can’t really stop it. But if they have to allow filming they’ll have a protocol because:

These safeguards will need to cover the protection of members of the public that attend meetings, who may not wish to be recorded. Further, particular attention will need to be paid to the expectations of privacy of persons under 18 and those that are vulnerable. In addition, consideration will need to be given to informing people how we intend to use the information.

Should Members be minded to allow third party recording, provisions will need to adopted to ensure that third parties record and process any recording responsibly and reasonably.

Apparently the councils Lawyers neglected to tel them that no one has a right to not be filmed when in public and that the council offices are a public place. Mind you if they want to protect the rights of those that wish not to be filmed I wonder if they’d entertain requests to turn off CCTV as I don’t wish them to film me? Also if the meeting is being filmed by them and made available to the world, why do they need additional rules for us? I shall have to inquire as to what the current protocol is, and why we can’t download and use the video’s they record.

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