Data protection laws don’t just apply to people
CCTV also has to be compliant to data protection. The laws are only getting stricter, laws about gathering personal information were drawn up in the 90’s and since then – a lot has changed. The new frame work – European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come as a result of addressing privacy and new technology and comes into place in May 2018. The GDPR will be enforced by The Information Commissioners Office, or, The ICO meaning you will need to have compliant CCTV signage to avoid a fine.
While you can go and buy a CCTV camera from Ebay, Argos or even Tesco, do not forget that CCTV footage counts as ‘personal information’. If somebody has recorded you on CCTV, you actually have rights to access that footage within 40 days of the recording. Even if you wish to use CCTV discreetly, you still must use correct and obvious signage! If you don’t stick to the rules, you could face a hefty fine.
Surveillance should not be used flippantly. There is great national concern about the widespread use of CCTV and what this means for privacy and human rights. The public expect that CCTV is being used responsibly and only where necessary. CCTV signage is not only a legal requirement, it helps your customers feel safe and confident on your premises.
When complying with the data protection act, off the shelf signs will not cut it.
What should your data protection compliant sign include?
- People who are being filmed must be made aware by a sign. The sign should state that CCTV is in operation.
- The sign should be placed in the immediate vicinity of the CCTV. You may need to have more than one.
Signs should be legible and clear.
- Signs should be A3 or A4 in size. If your premises is particularly large or accommodates drivers, a larger sign may be needed.
- The person responsible for the CCTV should have their name and contact number visible on the sign.
CCTV is only allowed for certain and deliberate purposes, and so the purpose of your CCTV use must be stated.
- To reduce bad feeling from the public, you might wish to make your sign less imposing and include a friendly message. Or you could of course make it more threatening if the only people who would typically be present on your property, except from staff, would be up to no good!
- You could include your branding on the sign to make it less impersonal.
When creating a sign, it’s also important to think about the material used. You don’t want something flimsy that will be prey to weather conditions or vandals. Hard wearing Plastic, Foamex or Aluminium Dibond is ideal. Remember if your sign does get damaged and becomes no longer legible, you could face a fine for lack of compliance.
CCTV is no longer hugely expensive and is relatively easy to install, however to save costs and maximise results, you could use additional signs as a crime deterrent, even if CCTV is not being used on that particular area.