TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Interior Ministry on Wednesday explained a proposal to place video cameras in unmarked police cars, which was criticized the day before.

“Recently, the media have purposely replicated the opinions of the so-called ‘covert surveillance’ allegedly launched by the Ministry of Internal Affairs,” the statement reads.

“Although the Ministry has repeatedly explained reasonably that the contactless patrolling has nothing in common with ‘surveillance’, it is obvious that the mentioned has been deliberately misinterpreted in order to mislead civil society.”

According to the MIA, the number of cars in Georgia has increased 20 percent over the last 2-3 years. Streets are congested and the risk of accidents is higher. The ministry’s goal is to take certain measures to ensure the security of citizens.

“Contactless patrolling is not conducted toward a previously identified person or group of persons, but it also involves the whole traffic process, without identifying any individual. Contactless patrolling identifies only the vehicle that violates the traffic rules.”

“Even in case traffic rules are violated, the driver is not subject to identification. There shall be drawn up a fine-video minute in the name of the vehicle’s owner; this has been an established standard.”

MIA argues that contactless patrolling is a practice in Western countries, as it protects pedestrians, passengers and drivers – even when the police patrols are absent.

“As for the request to deploy special information signs, the issue is already regulated by the Police Law, in particular, under the 2nd clause of article 27, information regarding self-operating photo (radar) and video devices shall be indicated in a visible place,” MIA explains.

Non-governmental organizations are against the draft law proposed by MIA. They claim that it violates privacy rights.