Data Protection and CCTV do your procedures comply?
As a society we are one of the most closely monitored countries in the world through the medium of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). It is not surprising that our schools and other buildings, in line with other public areas, utilise CCTV to provide deterrents to criminals and assist in the management of the property. With this power comes responsibility.
It is essential that the location of CCTV equipment be carefully considered. The way in which images are captured needs to comply with the First Data Protection Principle. Detailed guidance on the interpretation of the First Data Protection Principle is available but for now lets take an overview.
If possible the equipment should be sited so it only monitors those spaces that are intended to be covered by the equipment. This is not always possible. So if you find that the scheme borders domestic areas, which it is not intended to cover, and images might be recorded the user should consult with the owners. In the case of back gardens, this would be the resident of the property overlooked. (First and Third Data Protection Principles).
Operators must be aware of the purpose for which the scheme has been established and the fact that they are only able to use the equipment for this purpose. If cameras are adjustable by the operators, this should be restricted so that they cannot manipulate them to overlook spaces that are not intended to be covered by the scheme. If it is not possible physically to restrict the equipment to avoid recording images from spaces it is not intended to cover the operators should be trained in recognising the privacy implications of such spaces being covered. The obvious examples are individuals sunbathing in their back gardens having a greater expectancy of privacy than individuals mowing the lawn of their front garden or equipment legitimately set up to cover ATMs not capturing images of PIN numbers or balance enquiries.
Signs to make the public aware that they are entering a zone that is covered by surveillance equipment should be clearly visible and legible. The size of signs will vary according to circumstances. A sign on the entrance door to a building society office may only need to be A4 size because it is at eye level of those entering the premises, whereas signs at the entrances of car parks alerting drivers to the fact that the car park is covered usually need to be large, probably A3 size, as they are likely to be viewed from further away.
The signs should show the following:
•Identity of the person or organisation responsible for the scheme.
•The purpose of the scheme.
•Details of whom to contact regarding the scheme. (First Data Protection Principle).
An assessed of how long the covert monitoring should take place should be made to ensure that it is not carried out for longer than is necessary.
Page Last Updated: 7 October 2004