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Former top US spy for Netwatch event

Friday, October 11 16:41:59

Mark Sullivan, former director of the US Secret Service and is to address an expert security summit being hosted by Carlow headquartered protection services company Netwatch in Boston next Wednesday.

Sullivan, who was appointed head of the Secret Service in 2006, retired earlier this year after 30 years with the agency. He earned the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award in 2005 and 2010.

The expert summit entitled 'Video Surveillance, Striking a balance between Privacy and Public Safety' will also be addressed by Chief Terry Cunningham, Third Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Kathleen O'Toole, former Boston Police Commissioner, and a Board member of Netwatch. Netwatch is holding the summit in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombings, when three people were tragically killed and over 260 injured following the exploding of two bombs close to the finishing line on Boston's famous Boylston Street.

"CCTV footage was critical in identifying the perpetrators of that heinous crime", said David Walsh, Group CEO of Netwatch. "It has also proven significant in bringing to justice people such as David Copeland, the London Nail Bomber and Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who abducted and killed James Bulger in 1993. However, there are legitimate concerns about the potential for excessive video surveillance to breach an individual's privacy. This summit will examine the issues of striking a balance between privacy and public safety".

An online survey conducted by Netwatch shows that a majority of the public are in favour of CCTV with 54pc of respondents saying monitored CCTV should be encouraged as it prevents crime and a further 32pc saying that its benefits outweigh any concerns they might have about CCTV being intrusive. Only 10pc of respondents felt it was an invasion of privacy. Furthermore 60pc of respondents said they would have no concerns about law enforcement officers using facial recognition technology captured on CCTV images. These findings correlate with a survey carried out by the CBS News / New York Times which found that some 78pc of people in the US are in favour of more surveillance in cities.

"There is no doubt that without CCTV in place, some of today's well known perpetrators would never have been found. It is simply one of the most vital tools for police and investigators worldwide. It adds to the crime-solving arsenal, allowing police to identify witnesses, offenders and patterns. Having footage can help support or disprove the account of a witness. It can pinpoint what happened, where it happened and how many people took part," said Walsh.