At 11:34am, the official Twitter account for the Metropolitan Police’s helicopter service, @NPASLondon, tweeted a picture of the comedian Michael McIntyre from above.
The jocular tone of the tweet didn’t distract from its unsettling nature:
Even if it’s of an “energetic” well-known comedian, it’s still not a great message from the capital’s police force to imply that they can spy on you, take a picture, and broadcast your whereabouts to the world.
The NPAS (National Police Air Service) has since deleted the tweet. But a Met spokesperson tells me this is due to the “negative response on Twitter, and negative coverage”, and that the tweet “doesn’t break data protection legislation at all”. Because of people’s outrage online, they decided it would be “appropriate to delete it”.
Here are some of those negative responses:
@NPASLondon Did you seek the individual’s consent? Or is this an abuse of your considerable surveillance powers?
— Robin Wilton (@futureidentity) July 15, 2015
@NPASLondon you do a great job but this is dodgy. Do you have permission to post pics of these people from a spy cam on Twitter?
— Edward Davie (@EdDavie) July 15, 2015
— My Left Paw (@CheChe_Guevara) July 15, 2015
@NPASLondon talk about invasion of privacy, well out of order
— Pete Chenzo (@cabbypetemfc) July 15, 2015
@NPASLondon Wow. That’s kinda creepy
— ☜ pee (@PeterDJMain) July 15, 2015
@NPASLondon ummm, is this appropriate use of resources? Is this respecting the individuals privacy? Ummmm, no; I don’t think so
— Kris Halpin (@krishalpin) July 15, 2015
I’ve contacted McIntyre for his response but have yet to hear back.