The Ministry of the Interior wants to upgrade the network of 800 cameras in public spaces across Estonia. The plans have been laid out in the Internal Security Development Plan.
Veiko Kommusaar, head of the Law Enforcement and Criminal Policy Department at the Ministry of the Interior, said there is no plan to significantly increase the number of cameras. However, the idea is to constantly update the entire camera network and related technology so it could be used with artificial intelligence.
"This type of system would be able to identify more and more danger points by itself," Kommusaar said. "In the years to come, the aim would be to get a better analysis of what's going on in the public space and use it to better allocate resources."
When looking at new technologies, Kommusaar considers both facial recognition and number recognition capabilities important.
"There's definitely a new side to facial recognition that works well in such systems, as well as creating markers for them, so that when the camera image shows any events, that system can actually recognize it in the background without having to look at it," said Kommusaar.
Kommusaar told ERR that data protection rules would be followed and it would be specified how long images could be kept, adding the purpose of the CCTV network is primarily to prevent crime or to react to events.
Kommusaar told ERR across Estonia there are many different cameras, some of which are owned by the ministry, including those operated by the Police and Border Guard (PPA), others by partner organizations or local authorities. The ministry can access recordings as and when it needs them.
Editor: Helen Wright