All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

CCTV code of practice comes into force after privacy concerns

12 Aug 2013

The Home Office has introduced a CCTV code of practice to try to curb the excessive use of cameras for surveillance by increasing numbers of private and public sector organisations. However, there is no enforcement of the code and no fines for breaking it.

The code, set out by the Home Office earlier this year, acknowledges that CCTV can be vital to security and surveillance, but said it must have a “legitimate aim” and be “compliant with any relevant legal obligations”.

In particular, concerns have grown over recent years over the way CCTV is being used for excessive monitoring, such as in taxis, which was deemed illegal by the Information Commissioner’s Office last year.

The code states: “This code has been developed to address concerns over the potential for abuse or misuse of surveillance by the state in public places, with the activities of local authorities and the police the initial focus of regulation."

To try and enforce this there are 12 points that CCTV operators must follow that cover a range of issues, from use to data retention and the ability to contact the people running the cameras to access information.

“Use of a surveillance camera system must always be for a specified purpose, which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need,” reads point one of the scheme.

Point two reads: “The use of a surveillance camera system must take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy, with regular reviews to ensure its use remains justified.”

Despite the action by the government, privacy campaigners are still concerned not enough is being done. Civil liberties group Big Brother Watch pointed out that without proper enforcement it could become irrelevant.

"With only a small fraction of cameras covered and without any penalties for breaking the code, we hope that this is only the beginning of the process and that further steps will be taken in the future to protect people’s privacy from unjustified or excessive surveillance," it said in a blog post.

"As CCTV technology improves and issues like facial recognition analysis come to the fore, it is essential that people are able to access meaningful redress where their privacy is infringed. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner must be given the powers and the resources to take action otherwise the public will rightly ask if the surveillance state continues to escape accountability.

The issue of CCTV is just one area of monitoring to hit the headlines recently, with the ICO slamming police in Hertfordshire for "illegal" use of ANPR cameras to create a "ring of steel" around the village of Royston.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

View Dan's Google+ profile

More on Government
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

Devices at work poll

Which device do you use most for work?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
LG G Flex 2 hands-on review

CES 2015: LG G Flex 2 video

A closer look at LG's latest curved-screen smartphone

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging


Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Front End Web Developer - HTML5, CSS3, AngularJS - Hedge Fund

My client are a successful and modern hedge fund, currently...

Ruby Automation - Dev in Test

Ruby Dev in Test, Ruby Automation Tester, Cucumber, Capabara...

Graduate/Junior Software Developer

Our client is now going through a growth phase and is...

Senior Android Developer - Native Apps - Top E-Commerce Company

Senior Android Developer (Java, Android Marketplace...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.