Who Is Watching You?
Surveillance cameras are part of everyday life and we are frequently being monitored by the usage of cameras, from driving to work, in the coffee shop when we are purchasing a caffeine boost, to the office, shops and schools. There are obviously many advantages of surveillance cameras, from health and safety reasons to the detection and prevention of crime.
When surveillance cameras are used in a non-domestic setting, your organisation will need to pay the data protection fee with the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘the ICO’).
For those organisations who use surveillance cameras, thought should be given as to how long the images are retained for and the reasoning behind the particular retention period. It would be unlikely for most organisations to need to retain the images for a period of more than approximately a month.
Attention also needs to be given as to the location of surveillance cameras, ensuring that the principle of data minimisation is adhered to. The public also need to be made aware of the fact that there is surveillance cameras in usage, by the prominent display of signage. The signage should include the reason for the processing and the contact details of those responsible for the system, and reference to the usage of surveillance cameras would normally also be included in a privacy notice.
Data Protection Impact Assessments should regularly be undertaken for each camera in order to review whether the usage of surveillance cameras remains justified when taking into account the effect upon individuals and their privacy. You also need to consider what lawful basis exists for the processing of this data, such as legitimate interests. If you are relying on legitimate interests, then you will need to compile a legitimate interest assessment.
Finally, individuals may request access to the images which you are processing regarding them through a subject access request, and generally you will need to provide free of charge within 30 days of the request. Careful consideration also needs to be given as to whether images regarding third parties can ever be included.