CCTV footage: a GDPR nightmare?


The leaking of former Well being Secretary Matt Hancock’s affair by way of CCTV footage lately dominated headlines, finally leading to his resignation. Nevertheless, it additionally raised questions relating to the GDPR and privateness points related to CCTV within the office.

So, how can companies keep on the correct aspect of the regulation when implementing this expertise? Martin Noble, associate and data protection skilled at regulation agency, Shakespeare Martineau explains.

Folks typically affiliate private knowledge with particulars resembling telephone numbers and e mail addresses, nonetheless photographs of people additionally fall beneath the umbrella of private knowledge. Consequently, any enterprise that’s recording their staff by way of CCTV should comply with the proper GDPR processes or face severe penalties.

Earlier than putting in CCTV, employers ought to perform an information safety affect evaluation (DPIA) the place the usage of surveillance digicam knowledge is more likely to lead to a excessive threat to particular person privateness. A DPIA identifies the dangers of dealing with the info, and methods to mitigate these. For instance, each particular person has a proper to privateness, and the usage of the CCTV should be justified when balanced towards this. Employers ought to think about minimising the affect on individuals’s privateness, resembling placing cameras outdoors of workplaces slightly than in them or protecting them to communal areas solely and guaranteeing they don’t seize sound. As a rule of thumb, if there’s a approach to achieve the identical data in a much less intrusive method, then that choice should be chosen. The DPIA must also establish the authorized foundation that the employer intends to make use of for utilizing the CCTV. If that is on the premise of recognized “professional pursuits” then they can’t outweigh particular person pursuits, rights and freedoms.

It’s not only a case of protecting a DPIA on report although. As a part of the general evaluation, it could even be prudent to talk to related stakeholders within the enterprise, together with staff. Having determined to make use of CCTV, employers might want to make all staff conscious that their knowledge is being captured. As a result of imbalanced nature of the employer-employee relationship, consent can’t be relied upon as a lawful foundation for processing such knowledge. As a substitute, staff ought to be capable to entry a privateness coverage that units out the grounds that the enterprise is counting on to deal with the info. This could embody how it is going to be used, how it is going to be saved, how lengthy it is going to be saved, and who can entry it.

Any knowledge collected ought to solely be utilized in accordance with the privateness coverage, resembling for well being and security causes or to watch worker behaviour to stop misconduct. Notices must also be clearly positioned across the constructing which notify those who CCTV is in operation, as guests additionally have to be made conscious that their private knowledge is being captured.

Nevertheless, ought to a enterprise proprietor have issues a couple of particular worker for instance, there isn’t a regulation towards the usage of covert cameras. Nonetheless, they need to nonetheless be capable to exhibit that there’s a lawful foundation for planting a digicam, and that this isn’t outweighed by the rights of the person. A DPIA should be carried out to cowl these circumstances.

Matt Hancock seems to have been caught by a covert digicam, positioned there with out the Authorities’s permission. This was reported as being an ‘outlier’ which meant that it was not on the principle CCTV circuit or put in by his employer. Employers do have an obligation to take care of their staff and this has raised some safety points by way of how the footage was obtained within the first place. In the event that they might be discovered, then the one that planted the digicam would face a declare for breach of privateness.

Even when absolutely knowledgeable about the usage of CCTV within the office, staff do nonetheless have the correct to object in the event that they don’t agree with the best way their private knowledge is being processed. Initially, employers ought to provide to elucidate in additional element the reasoning for the CCTV, as clarification relating to its goal and utilization could also be all that’s required to place the worker’s thoughts comfortable. Nevertheless, ought to they proceed to say that it’s overly intrusive, employers must think about how finest to maneuver ahead.

If there’s a explicit digicam that’s of concern, eradicating it could be the only choice. However, if it’s the idea of CCTV itself that the worker disagrees with, then the employer should think about whether or not the person’s rights are more likely to override the professional pursuits they search to guard. In the event that they consider that their grounds don’t override the worker’s rights, then they’ll select to maintain the cameras as they’re.

Ought to the CCTV keep in place, and the worker continues to have issues, then the enterprise may face a declare by the affected person for breach of knowledge safety laws and their proper to privateness. The worker additionally has the choice to escalate the grievance to the ICO, which has the facility to analyze and problem fines for GDPR breaches. These fines differ relying on the severity of the offence and are capped at a a number of of their total turnover, which means they’ll result in a major monetary loss for non-compliant companies. Because of this with the ability to exhibit the authorized foundation for utilizing CCTV is important.

CCTV is extra prevalent than ever now that the expertise is extra reasonably priced, with SMEs in addition to massive corporates capable of set up it within the office. Nevertheless, there isn’t a threshold for GDPR compliance, with companies of any measurement having to comply with the proper procedures. In search of authorized recommendation earlier than implementing CCTV might help employers to make sure they perform the required checks, avoiding pricey fines.

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