CCTV industry set to benefit from new data protection rules

The GDPR will require a wholesale reassessment of data protection for the UK’s 5.9 million CCTV cameras, which to date have benefitted from relatively light touch regulation. However, it will enable the sector to enhance its public image and create opportunities for new valued-added services, according to a White Paper from cloud-based video surveillance company Cloudview.

Cloudview asked Andrew Charlesworth, Reader in IT Law at the University of Bristol, to examine the impact of the changing nature of data privacy regulation on the CCTV industry. The resulting paper, Watching the Watchers, shows how changing technology has altered both the data protection environment and public perceptions of what is acceptable to protect their privacy, and explains how it creates opportunities for providers to offer enhanced value services.

There are almost 6 million CCTV cameras across the UK’s homes, schools, business and public spaces – all of which will come under the jurisdiction of the GDPR. The white paper points out that UK regulation has been relatively light touch until now, using recent court cases* to show how current legislation has been applied. It explains the key changes that will be required as the GDPR changes the focus of data protection from compliance to accountability.

As the new regulation coincides with a transition to new IP- and cloud-based CCTV systems, it creates both opportunities and risks.

“The GDPR places new demands on CCTV users, and non-compliance puts them at risk of a significant fine,” said James Wickes, Cloudview CEO and co-founder. “However, they may be able to use the changes it requires in a positive way. The GDPR gives them an opportunity to tackle what is often a negative image, of being watched by a third party, and take the lead in demonstrating accountability and privacy protection. They will need to review and possibly change their privacy policies, but by using new technologies such as cloud they can meet the new regulations while improving data accessibility and opening up new applications for visual data.

“Cloud allows selective and secure access to CCTV footage from any device by nominated employees, and it also offers performance improvements such as making data more readily accessible, providing accurate date and time stamping and providing constant updates on camera status so any technical problems can be rectified immediately. It’s up to the industry to use the GDPR as an opportunity to rethink the way that visual data is stored, how it’s secured and ultimately how it can be used to better effect as a business tool rather than purely as a security system.”

The White Paper can be downloaded here

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