After Newham in London, Aberdeen Council has introduced a video system that gives council staff first sight of every visitor to residential properties.
Previously the video entry system connected the person at the door with the property they were trying to enter, and the person inside was able to see a video image of the person outside and, if they wished, remotely open the door.
Aberdeen Council has now written to residents informing them that they are going to change the system so it is a council operator who controls access, and gets to see who is visiting you. The letter reads:
When a non-resident calls your flat from the entrance, the call would be diverted to a centralised control room, where we will also monitor the current CCTV cameras in your building 24 hours a day. A member of staff from the control room would contact you directly and ask if you agreed to the non-resident being allowed access to the building.
Why should a council official be able to see the visitors to your flat before you do? It’s no business who you have into your own property and the last thing residents need is a council official scrutinising everyone they invite round for a cup of tea.
Following the intervention of Big Brother Watch, the council has confirmed that residents who do not wish their visitors to be seen by a council official in the control room will be able to opt-out of the system.