CCTV and Privacy

Essential advice on CCTV privacy issues Respecting the privacy of individuals is a challenge for all users of CCTV systems as such rights are protected under Data Protection and Human Rights legislation. To provide CCTV users with much-needed advice in this complex area, the BSIA has produced a guide to CCTV privacy masking. "Privacy masking involves restricting what can be seen by CCTV systems and applies to images displayed in real-time surveillance and those recorded for later use," says BSIA CCTV Section Chairman, Pauline Norstrom. "It is essential that users are aware of the legislative requirements of the Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act with regard to privacy issues. The legislation requires users to ensure that cameras only monitor those spaces that are intended to be covered by the equipment and that privacy implications are always taken into account, such as windows of private dwellings. It is important that end-users take advantage of privacy masking to stay within the law, whilst also making the most of the crime reduction capabilities of their CCTV system."

The BSIA guide outlines the requirements of the legislation and how users can comply through the use of camera positioning, physical masking such as using walls or trees and vegetation, and electronic masking. Electronic masking can involve masking areas with a solid colour so that no detail or movement can be seen: blurring or pixelating an area of the image to allow sight of movement but no detail: or using a mask that only engages when the camera zooms in on an area. The BSIA guide highlights the strengths and weaknesses of all forms of privacy masking and provides end-users with invaluable advice in this complex area.

More information on privacy masking can be found here

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