As everybody knows the use of CCTV systems has expanded greatly. In fact people can buy a CCTV system for their own house in the supermarket at a greatly reduced rate. Some of the systems in public premises can be quite sophisticated and have the capacity to recognise faces. If you own a CCTV system you should be conscious that it is used with proper care and consideration as recognisable images captured by CCTV systems are personal data and are subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Acts. The person who is a “data controller” needs to be able to justify obtaining and using personal data by means of CCTV. The system used to control the perimeter of a building for security purposes will usually be easy to justify.
What will the system be used for?
Security of premises or other properties is probably the most common use of CCTV systems. This will more than likely always be justifiable.
There may be occasions where a CCTV system could be considered intrusive. For example, if employees are monitored in a highly intrusive way then it could be considered disproportionate.
Transmission of CCTV images to An Garda Siochána:
If the Gardaí want CCTV images for a special investigation, it is up to the data controller to satisfy themselves that there is a genuine investigation under way. Essentially, if you speak to a member of the Gardaí or the Station Sergeant, who confirms there is an investigation then it is appropriate to supply the access request.
Domestic Use of CCTV Systems
The processing of personal data kept by an individual and concerned solely with the management of his personal, family or household affairs or kept for recreational purposes is exempt under the provisions of the Act. This exemption would generally apply to CCTVs in a domestic environment, however, the exemption may not apply if the occupant works from home.