The UK is recognised as a leading user of CCTV and the public are used to seeing CCTV cameras on virtually every high street. Such systems continue to enjoy general public support but they do involve intrusion into the lives of ordinary people as they go about their day to day business and can raise wider privacy concerns.
We know from our research that the public expect CCTV to be used responsibly with proper safeguards in place. We have therefore issued guidance to help organisations who use CCTV to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and to help them inspire public confidence that they are using CCTV responsibly.
Images of people are covered by the Data Protection Act, and so is information about people which is derived from images – for example, vehicle registration numbers. Most uses of CCTV by organisations or businesses will be covered by the Act, regardless of the number of cameras or how sophisticated the equipment is.
The Data Protection Act does not apply to individuals’ private or household purposes. So if you install a camera on your own home to protect it from burglary, the Act will not apply.
In the picture: A data protection code of practice for surveillance cameras and personal information
We have published the following guidance to help organisations using CCTV to stay within the law:
CCTV code of practice (pdf)
This updated version of our code of practice provides guidance and advice for CCTV users on how to comply with the Data Protection Act and also includes a simple checklist for users of very limited CCTV systems where the full provisions of the code would be too detailed.
CCTV in pubs
The ICO has received a number of enquiries from pub landlords on the issue of CCTV installation being made a condition for obtaining, or continuing, a licence to sell alcohol. The ICO view on CCTV in pubs in and some frequently asked questions for licensees can be found below.
If you are still uncertain or have any other questions, please contact us.