14 October 2019
Since its introduction
in 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had time to bed in.
Now, legislation relating to personal data and its usage are well-defined, well-published
and enforceable, so there’s no excuse for not being informed about what’s
Under GDPR, all
organisations that gather, store and/or process personal consumer information
must have a lawful basis for doing so, and this includes CCTV images in which
individuals can be identified. If your businesses use CCTV, here’s what you
need to know about GDPR.
Is CCTV covered by GDPR?
Yes. The GDPR
definition of personal data is “information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual”, which covers images captured by CCTV. GDPR states that any
organisation already using or intending to install a CCTV system must be able
to prove ‘legitimate interest’ – in other words, a justifiable and legally-compliant
reason for taking and recording CCTV images. For most businesses and
organisations, their legitimate interest will be premises security and/or
safeguarding of staff and visitors. However, whatever the case, it’s important
to note that the legitimate interest in question must apply to the entire area
covered by the cameras.
Another significant statute
of CCTV under GDPR is the length of time images are stored and processed.
Organisations cannot store CCTV footage indefinitely; in fact, they can only
keep it for “as long as is completely necessary”, which depends upon why the
images are captured in the first place. GDPR doesn’t define any acceptable
retention periods so it’s a bit of a grey area, but common sense would dictate
that a shop wouldn’t need to retain footage longer than six months, for example
– by which time any reported crimes should have been investigated.
There’s more detailed
information on CCTV, the GDPR and what’s covered available from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website,
including a data protection code of practice for surveillance cameras and personal
Do you have to display signs if you
Yes. All organisations
that use CCTV have a legal obligation to inform people that they may be
recorded and why the CCTV is in place. This includes members of the public and
staff members alike.
Signage is generally
the simplest way to tell people that they’re in a surveillance area, these must
be clearly visible and readable, and should include details of your purposes
for using CCTV, how long you will retain the footage and who it will be shared
Crucially, it’s also a
requirement that the ICO is notified of any business use of CCTV. You may also
need to pay a fee, depending on how many people your business employs and your
annual turnover. You can notify the ICO online.
Do I have to show people any images
of them under personal data compliance?
Yes, if they request
to see it. This is known as a ‘subject access request’ - the law states that
anyone can ask to see images recorded of them on CCTV, and that these must be
provided by the organisation in question within one calendar month, free of charge.
If a subject access request is made, you can ask the requester to provide personal
details that will enable you to confirm their identity and find them in the
Let the experts help you implement
efficient and compliant CCTV
If you’re unsure of
any legislative aspect of CCTV usage and what’s expected of your business, we
can help. Our specialist team can advise you on legal CCTV compliance, as well
as the most suitable solutions for your organisation and its unique security
needs, so please get in touch
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – LYNDEN JONES
Lynden joined Touchstar ATC (formally Feedback Data) in a sales role for Access Control in 2010. Prior to joining the company, Lynden held both Production and Account Manager roles, gaining wide technical and commercial experience within the electronics market.
In 2013 Lynden was promoted to Sales Director and in 2017 he took overall responsibility of the business as Managing Director. As well as running Touchstar ATC, Lynden still remains extremely active in the sales and key account management aspects of the business. When not involved in the business, Lynden is a keen performance car enthusiast.