July23 , 2021

CCTV footage: a GDPR nightmare?

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The leaking of former Well being Secretary Matt Hancock’s affair by way of CCTV footage just 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 proper aspect of the regulation when implementing this expertise? Martin Noble, associate and information safety knowledgeable at regulation agency, Shakespeare Martineau explains.

Folks typically affiliate private information with particulars comparable to cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses, nevertheless pictures of people additionally fall below the umbrella of private information. Because of this, any enterprise that’s recording their workers by way of CCTV should observe the right GDPR processes or face critical penalties.

Earlier than putting in CCTV, employers ought to perform a knowledge safety impression evaluation (DPIA) the place using surveillance digicam information is more likely to end in 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 using the CCTV have to be justified when balanced in opposition to this. Employers ought to contemplate minimising the impression on folks’s privateness, comparable to placing cameras exterior of places of work relatively than in them or holding them to communal areas solely and making certain they don’t seize sound. As a rule of thumb, if there’s a solution to acquire the identical info in a much less intrusive method, then that possibility have to be chosen. The DPIA must also determine the authorized foundation that the employer intends to make use of for utilizing the CCTV. If that is on the premise of recognized “respectable pursuits” then they can’t outweigh particular person pursuits, rights and freedoms.

It’s not only a case of holding a DPIA on file although. As a part of the general evaluation, it might even be prudent to talk to related stakeholders within the enterprise, together with workers. Having determined to make use of CCTV, employers might want to make all workers conscious that their information 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 information. As an alternative, workers 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 embrace how will probably be used, how will probably be saved, how lengthy will probably be saved, and who can entry it.

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

Nevertheless, ought to a enterprise proprietor have considerations a couple of particular worker for instance, there isn’t a regulation in opposition to using covert cameras. Nonetheless, they have to nonetheless be capable to show that there’s a lawful foundation for planting a digicam, and that this isn’t outweighed by the rights of the person. A DPIA have to 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 primary CCTV circuit or put in by his employer. Employers do have an obligation to take care of their workers and this has raised some safety points when it comes to how the footage was obtained within the first place. In the event that they could possibly be discovered, then the one that planted the digicam would face a declare for breach of privateness.

Even when absolutely knowledgeable about using CCTV within the office, workers do nonetheless have the proper to object in the event that they don’t agree with the best way their private information is being processed. Initially, employers ought to supply to elucidate in additional element the reasoning for the CCTV, as clarification relating to its function and utilization could also be all that’s required to place the worker’s thoughts comfortable. Nevertheless, ought to they proceed to assert that it’s overly intrusive, employers should contemplate how greatest to maneuver ahead.

If there’s a explicit digicam that’s of concern, eradicating it might be the only possibility. Then again, if it’s the idea of CCTV itself that the worker disagrees with, then the employer should contemplate whether or not the person’s rights are more likely to override the respectable pursuits they search to guard. In the event that they imagine that their grounds don’t override the worker’s rights, then they will select to maintain the cameras as they’re.

Ought to the CCTV keep in place, and the worker continues to have considerations, 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 criticism to the ICO, which has the ability to research and difficulty fines for GDPR breaches. These fines differ relying on the severity of the offence and are capped at a a number of of their general turnover, that means they will result in a major monetary loss for non-compliant companies. This is the reason having the ability to show 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 giant corporates in a position to set up it within the office. Nevertheless, there isn’t a threshold for GDPR compliance, with companies of any measurement having to observe the right procedures. In search of authorized recommendation earlier than implementing CCTV will help employers to make sure they perform the mandatory checks, avoiding pricey fines.