Data Protection Commissioner’s Annual Report 2005: CCTV

Another case study. The explanation speaks for itself. But here are some questions for my clever readers. If the camera is showing a blank screen when it is moving over the private property, can I get any CCTV camera pointed at my private property similarly adjusted?

I received a complaint concerning one of the CCTV cameras on the Luas line which the
complainant stated completely overlooked his back garden, giving rise to the feeling that
the family were under constant surveillance and were unable to enjoy their private
property because of the presence of the camera.

Connex, the Luas operators, acknowledged that the
camera could indeed monitor parts of the
complainant’s back garden. My Office indicated that
the rules of data protection require that personal
data recorded must be relevant and not excessive for
the purposes for which it is obtained. In relation to
CCTV cameras, this means that the camera must be
positioned so that it cannot capture non-relevant
images in its vicinity.

Connex informed this Office that their policy in
relation to CCTV was that cameras are to be used to
monitor public areas and should not be used to
monitor private areas. They agreed that the camera
in question could monitor sections of the
complainant’s back garden. The Commissioner
therefore directed that Connex immediately take the
necessary steps to rectify the matter so that the
camera’s range makes it impossible to enable
monitoring – albeit inadvertent – of the
complainant’s private property.

Connex then modified the system so that the
camera /monitor was now showing a black screen
when moving over the private property in its range.
They also said that these settings cannot be changed
by the personnel who are using the cameras and
monitors in the Central Control Room of Connex.

I was satisfied that this solution resolved the issue
and that Connex were now aware of and fulfilling
their obligations and responsibilities under the Data
Protection Acts.

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