Case Study 8 - CCTV cameras on the Luas line
I received a complaint concerning one of the CCTV cameras on the Luas line which the complainant stated completely overlooked his back garden, giving rise to the feeling that the family were under constant surveillance and were unable to enjoy their private property because of the presence of the camera.
Connex, the Luas operators, acknowledged that the camera could indeed monitor parts of the complainant's back garden. My Office indicated that the rules of data protection require that personal data recorded must be relevant and not excessive for the purposes for which it is obtained. In relation to CCTV cameras, this means that the camera must be positioned so that it cannot capture non-relevant images in its vicinity.
Connex informed this Office that their policy in relation to CCTV was that cameras are to be used to monitor public areas and should not be used to monitor private areas. They agreed that the camera in question ccould monitor sections of the complainant's back garden. The Commissioner therefore directed that Connex immediately take the necessary steps to rectify the matter so that the camera's range make it impossible to enable monitoring - albeit inadvertent - of the complainant's private property.
Connex then modified the system so that the camera /monitor was now showing a black screen when moving over the private property in its range. They also said that these settings cannot be changed by the personnel who are using the cameras and monitors in the Central Control Room of Connex.
I was satisfied that this solution resolved the issue and that Connex were now aware of and fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities under the Data Protection Acts.