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About 4 days ago 39
We own a building with 20 flats. We are considering putting up CCTV cameras in the communal areas such as entrance lobby and the ground/car park.
Are there any legal or practical issues anybody know about?
What about cameras with audio facility?
Many thanks Sam
From the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) click here to view web page.
“When is CCTV covered by the Data Protection Act?
Most uses of CCTV will be covered by the Data Protection Act.
The Data Protection Act gives you the right to see information held about you, including CCTV images of you, or images which give away information about you (such as your car number plate).
It also sets rules which CCTV operators must follow when they gather, store and release CCTV images of individuals. The Information Commissioner can enforce these rules.
If you are concerned that CCTV is being used for harassment, anti social behaviour or other matters dealt with under the criminal law, then these are matters for the police.
Law enforcement covert surveillance activities are covered by a separate Act – the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act (RIPSA) 2000.
CCTV filming carried out by others
What can I expect?
The CCTV operator must let people know they are using CCTV. Signs are the most usual way of doing this. The signs must be clearly visible and readable, and should include the details of the organisation operating the system if not obvious.
CCTV should only be used in exceptional circumstances in areas where you normally expect privacy – such as in changing rooms or toilets, and should only be used to deal with very serious concerns. The operator should make extra effort to ensure that you are aware that cameras are in use.
Conversations between members of the public should not be recorded on CCTV. (There are some specific exceptions to this, such as a panic button in a taxi cab or the charging area of a police custody suite).
What must a CCTV operator do?
When can CCTV images be disclosed?
You have the right to see CCTV images of you and to ask for a copy of them. The organisation must provide them within 40 calendar days of your request, and you may be asked to pay a fee of up to £10 (this is the maximum charge, set by Parliament). This is called a Subject Access Request. You will need to provide details to help the operator to establish your identity as the person in the pictures, and to help them find the images on their system.
How long can an organisation retain CCTV images?
Organisations should have a retention policy. They should only keep the images for as long as necessary to meet the purpose of recording them.
Using CCTV on your property
CCTV used on your property will be exempt from the Data Protection Act unless you are capturing footage of individuals outside your property.
However, regardless of whether your CCTV system is exempt, the ICO recommends that you use CCTV in a responsible way to protect the privacy of others.
How can I use CCTV on my property responsibly?
The guiding principle throughout the deployment of your CCTV equipment should be checking at each stage that its use is necessary and not disproportionate. For example – ask yourself:
What if my camera captures footage of individuals beyond the boundaries of my property?
You must consider whether it is necessary for your camera to operate beyond the boundary of your property.
If your camera covers, even partially, any areas beyond the boundaries of your property, such as neighbouring gardens or the street, then it will no longer be exempt from the Data Protection Act (DPA) under the domestic purposes exemption. This does not mean that you are breaching the DPA but it does mean that you might need to take some steps to comply with it.
What can I do to make sure that what I’m doing complies with the DPA?
First, think about the problem you are trying to address and the best solution to it. This will usually be to safeguard you and your property against crime. Check your local police advice about crime prevention. Better locks or security lighting may be a more effective and less expensive way of securing your property.
If you decide to use CCTV cameras, you should:
You should remember that your use of a CCTV system may be appropriate but publicly uploading or streaming footage of individuals will require further justification and in most cases will not be justifiable.
As the data controller for this footage, individuals do have the right to request a copy of it from you under the DPA, if you collect their personal data.
What other considerations are there?
If you cannot rely on the domestic purposes exemption, you will need to register with us as a data controller.
Many CCTV systems now come with audio recording facilities. Audio recording is particularly privacy intrusive and in the vast majority of cases where CCTV is being used on domestic properties it should be disabled”
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