Accountability. Implications for a Controller using CCTV.

But what is a controller I hear you ask?! Once again we return to the “purpose and means (essential elements) of processing”. Not trying to get boring about it but this is where the magic happens! We have some interesting and challenging situations to consider. We need to always come back to who is the real controller of the camera. Not just who put the camera up – but the why? to what purpose? who benefits? and who controls how?

We also need to consider the types of data being processed. For cameras, it’s images and sound, probably not a lot more. This data is central to our security and it is realistic to expect it will be held for a period of time.   

Cameras in communal areas of apartment blocks; cameras on the street; cameras in areas that are semi-public -they all pose challenges that are not easily explained by the GDPR. Public cameras are also on the increase. Police forces are protecting us as a community with strategically placed cameras. It seems that no matter how far we roam we are never too far away from a CCTV camera. The central question for all of us is “who is the controller?”.  

So does the right of the controller to use this camera to “prevent” or “solve” crime override your rights of data integrity. The European Data Protection Board suggests a particular methodology to follow for private persons.  The controller should have tried other methods and determined that this is the necessary solution. From there, they need to ensure that they are applying the minimisation principle. Video surveillance to “prevent accidents” is not proportional.  Individuals should not be monitored in places they don’t expect to be monitored. i.e.in changing rooms or saunas.

Household or domestic exemption rule in GDPR is strictly viewed, and getting more strict following recent guidelines. These days if we buy a camera for our home – we must be prepared to take responsibility for it. This means that (among other things) we should be really clear about the purpose of the camera; positioning it correctly and having a sign letting people know there is camera surveillance.

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