The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has released their updated CCTV Code of Practice for 2014. This code is designed to explain what legal requirements anyone who operates a CCTV system must comply with. One of the biggest changes for this updated code is that it now takes account of new and emerging technologies such as cameras worn on the body, automatic number plate recognition and drones, which are all beginning to be used in the security industry. Even if you are not using any of these technologies, however, there are still some key points from the updated code that are worth taking on board.
Collection of personal information
With the increasing sophistication of CCTV systems there is the potential to collect ever more information about the people being recorded. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is an example of a technology that can potentially allow you to build up a detailed picture of an individual’s movements. While this can be useful from a security point of view, you have to be able to justify the collection of this data and what you will use it for.
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
The Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) was introduced in response to increasing concerns amongst the public about the growing use of CCTV. POFA has led to the introduction of a new code of practice for surveillance cameras and the appointment of a Surveillance Camera Commissioner to help regulate the industry. The updated CCTV Code of Practice from ICO makes it clear that they are now willing to take enforcement action to support POFA, so it’s important to be familiar with your obligations under this legislation.
ICO is a non-departmental government body which reports direct to Parliament and is responsible for regulating the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. Its role involves both delivering guidance on staying within the law and carrying out enforcement actions, including issuing fines of up to £500,000 for failure to comply with the legislation.