ICO Issues CCTV Guidance “Fit For Our Times”

Oct 22, 2014

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued its updated CCTV code, claiming it to be “truly fit for the times that we live in.”

The guidance has been updated to include modern advances in surveillance technology, such as drones and wearable technology.

The ICO claims the code has been put together to help organisations stay on the right side of the law and prevent them wasting money and resources on systems that are not compliant.

“The days of CCTV being limited to a video camera on a pole are long gone,” claims Jonathan Bamford, head of strategic liaison at ICO in a blog post.

“Our new code reflects the latest advances in surveillance technologies and their implementation, while explaining the key data protection issues that those operating the equipment need to understand,” he adds.

The ICO notes that much of the guidance surrounding surveillance has remained the same, for example, people must be informed about any information collected via relevant privacy notices and signage where required.

Fundamental principles such as keeping information collected in a secure location where it cannot fall into the wrong hands and putting in place effective retention and disposal schedules that ensure data is only kept for as long as necessary before secure destruction also remain in place.

Code “Must Reflect” Technological Advancements

“However, the code must reflect the times we live in. The pace of technological change since our CCTV guidance as last updated in 2008, let alone first published some 14 years ago, has been considerable” claims Bamford.

“These advances bring with them new opportunities and new challenges for making sure the technology continues to be used in compliance with the Data Protection Act (DPA).

“One common theme from the enforcement action we have taken in relation to the use of surveillance cameras is that there needs to be a thorough privacy impact assessment,” he adds.

Such assessments, the ICO says, must be done before deployment of powerful and potentially intrusive technologies.

The organisation also calls into question new wearable technology such as body worn cameras able to record both sound and images.

According to ICO, this makes them more intrusive than traditional CCTV and therefore requires strong safeguards to ensure they are not used when they are not needed and strong security measures are in place in case devices fall into the wrong hands.

DPA Basic Principles “Remain The Same”

“The technology may change, but the principles of the DPA remain the same,” claims Bamford.

“CCTV and other surveillance systems need to be proportionate, justifiable and secure to be compliant.

“Today’s code will help to make sure that this continues not just for today, but for the years ahead,” he concludes.

© 24N.biz

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