Any images captured of people are classified as personal data. Businesses must therefore comply with the Data Protection Act or, from May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Organisations are obliged to notify people that they are taking their personal data. The easiest way of doing this is by prominently displaying signs within the area captured by the CCTV such as at the entrance to the area as well as frequently within and around the site. Clear and prominent signage is particularly important when the CCTV cameras are placed discreetly or where people do not expect to be under surveillance. Having CCTV signage is also an added visual deterrent. Not having the correct signage in place is often where businesses fall short. We supply & install the necessary signage as part of our CCTV installations.
We also often get asked by residential customers if their system can record images of people outside of the boundary of their own home or garden. In these situations, the homeowner is subject to the same data protection laws as they become the data controller. This means that they need to
- Let people know that CCTV is being used by putting up signs saying that recording is taking place, and why.
- Ensure they don’t capture more footage than they need to achieve the purpose of using the system.
- Ensure the security of the footage they capture – in other words, holding it securely and making sure nobody can watch it without good reason.
- Only keep the footage for as long as they need it
- Ensure the CCTV system is only operated in ways they intend and can’t be misused for other reasons. Anyone they share the property with, such as family members who could use the equipment, need to know the importance of not misusing it.
- Before the system is installed, we advise them to speak to their neighbours and explain what they are doing. We advise them to listen to any objections or concerns they may have. It may also be useful to invite the neighbours to view the footage that is captured as this may relieve any concerns they have about use of CCTV. It may also avoid disputes escalating or complaints being made.
- They should remember that publicly uploading or streaming footage of identifiable people would need more justification. In most cases it would not be justifiable.
- They don’t need to register with the ICO or pay a fee (this is a change from the previous law). However, they must maintain records of how and why they are capturing these images, and for how long they are keeping them. They may need to make these records available to the ICO on request.
For more information on data protection or CCTV signage, please see the article available on the ‘latest news’ page on our website or the Information Commissioner’s Office website, ico.org.uk.
We usually supply a large enough surveillance hard drive to give our customers between 2-4 weeks of continuous footage before the system automatically overwrites the oldest footage. This can be increased by having larger or multiple hard drives installed.