Use of Body Cameras Data: Privacy

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How to prevent data breaches for the use of body cameras…

Currently there are privacy concerns for the use of body cameras. To help minimise these concerns, the correct equipment and policy is required before implementing the use of body cameras. When planning and implementing a body camera initiative, it is highly recommended to have a guidance document in place, to avoid breach of The Data Protection Act.

It is important to understand the law AS this will help implement a successful body camera framework. Even though body cameras do not necessary fall under the traditional definition of CCTV as closed circuit television hardware, most of the guidelines and protocols still apply - especially when sensitive personal data is collected.

Within the Data Protection Act there is eight ‘Data Protection Principles’ that specifically specifies that personal data must be:

  1. Processed fairly and lawfully.
  2. Obtained for specified and lawful purposes.
  3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive.
  4. Accurate and up-to-date.
  5. Not kept any longer than necessary.
  6. Processed in accordance with the ‘data subject’s’ (the individual’s) rights.
  7. Securely kept.
  8. Not transferred to any other country without adequate protection in situ.

These eight key points are a ‘must’ when implementing a successful framework for the use of body cameras.

According to Cavallaro (2007), the use of data encryption is a solution for privacy concerns for video surveillance cameras. This technique can be successfully implemented for the use of body cameras.

Including privacy constraints for the use of body cameras is very important. This is essential for the perception of body cameras as a true security tool and to prevent threatening privacy concerns.

It is important that you are buying a body camera ‘fit for purpose’. The software and body cameras are both essential and equally important to be highly secure.

What to look for to ensure a highly secure body camera:

  • The video and audio can be kept securely on the camera
  • Recordings can only be retrieved and seen by authorised individuals
  • Recordings should be evidential quality, to demonstrate from camera to court that they have not been tampered with

What to look for to ensure a highly secure body camera software:

  • Data encryption, unauthorised users can not view footage
  • Role based security and access controls allows users to be granted with restricted access to help meet your data protection obligations
  • Policy based data retention, software that supports (optional) automatic deletion or your non-evidential footage to a schedule. This a great tool to make sure you are not storing footage for longer than required.

Andrea Cavallaro. 2007. Privacy in Video Surveillance [online] [viewed 16 March 2015]. Available at: http://ssli.ee.washington.edu/courses/ee299/hws/hw4_files/privacy.pdf

Information Commissioner’s Officer. 2015. Data Protection Principles [online] [viewed 16 March 2015]. Available at: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/data-protection-principles/