Doktor Jons Guide to the "Use and Application of CCTV"
This is the "Civil Liberties" Section - Privacy and the Data Protection Act

So would you like to play "Spot the CCTV Camera?". Eagle eyed visitors may recognise the profusion of street furniture, surrounding a single heritage dome camera keeping watch over part  of Londons' prestigious Oxford Street shopping area.
TRUSTED - Target Recognition Using Surveillance Technology for Evidence and Detection - A campaign to improve the effectiveness of existing video surveillance security systems.

- Civil Liberties and the DPA -

CCTV & The Data Protection Act, who does it protect?

If we are to assume that any piece of regulatory legislation should be introduced to the overall benefit of the law abiding, it would seem that the DPA appears to provide few if any benefits, and some serious legal implications for applying CCTV technology in the fight against crime.

Did you know for example that according to the office of the Information Commissioner (the regulator for Data Protection in the UK), all CCTV systems that are capable of observing Data Subjects (in plain english, that’s cameras which can watch you and me!), are required to be registered under the Act (with the exclusion of private domestic camera installations intended for own use only!).

Now call me silly, but what is the point of registering as a Data Controller if your security camera system isn't even capable of video recording.

Yes, believe it or not simply observing an individual on a monitor, and learning something about their behaviour, means you are viewing their personal data, which requires compliance under the act; but then looking out of the window through a pair of binoculers is quite obviously, a completely different ball game!

Did you know that if a murderer is video recorded, carrying out a brutal crime some three metres in front of the camera (in broad daylight), simply by failing to change the Time and Date display to the correct setting (GMT / BST), or having the wrong caption displayed on the recording, means it would be inadmissable in court due to the fact that it is classed as “corrupted data”.

Perhaps as a public viewing CCTV manager, it might be worth considering the implications for the following conundrum.

If the cameras are located on the perimeter of your property, for the protection of staff and assets within, any passing Data Subject (with or without criminal intent), has the right to request access, to view all the recordings made of themselves as they walked past the cameras.

So if for arguments sake an individual was looking to identify potential weaknesses in the company’s security camera system, what better way than to knock on the door and ask to see for themselves, how clear they are on the recordings. You can of course refuse, but then that would probably attract the wrath of the Information Commissioner, with the possibility of a hefty fine for failing to comply under the terms of the act.

CCTV and the Data Protection Act - continued >>

Doktor Jons CCTV Forum provides a unique location to discuss and exchange information on all aspects of video surveillance

IMPORTANT: No material may be reproduced, copied or redistributed from this site,
without the express written consent of

All the detailed information on this site is provided in good faith; as such, Doktor Jon does not accept responsibility for any consequential loss, injury or disadvantage resulting from any individual or organisation acting on the details contained herein.

© 2004 - 2009

Homepage...:...Gateway...:...Technical Gateway....:....Quickfind Index....:....Equipment Directory
Site Index...:...About this site....:....CCTV Helpdesk....:.... The Forum ....:....Contact Doktor Jon