Illegal To Post Your CCTV Footage In Ireland

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Feb 19, 2014

Surveillance videos and images are regularly posted publicly. They're entertaining, shocking and even funny, but they also have a real impact in solving crimes and are being embraced by U.S. police. But being fined more than $100,000 for posting images of a crime online? Sounds farcical.

However, in Ireland, the rules are surprisingly different.

After a man published CCTV video of a team of men burglarizing his house in South Dublin, it's him who may face penalties. For this note, we interviewed the man and take a look at Ireland’s strict privacy law. This is a case where the criminals’ privacy rights outweighed a homeowner’s desire to catch them.

Background

Robert Waters was away from home when four men hopped a fence to his property and burglarized his house. The men were calm, methodical and in and out the house within minutes. They fled when the police arrived responding to the home’s burglary alarm. Waters, who had several cameras on his property, has footage of the crime:

“I gave the police a copy of the footage, and they had their investigation ongoing and I had the idea that if I put the footage in the public domain for the public to look at maybe they could identify someone too,” he said. He posted the video along with the number to a police tip line and reference number for the case.

He thought was doing a good thing when created the website CrimeCCTV.com to allow other people in Ireland to post videos from their systems as well.

After the website went live, because there was nothing else like it in Ireland, it made the news. Technically, the police are the only authority with the power to post videos or images of criminals, but they never do, Waters says.

“In Ireland we don’t have something like the FBI Top 10 List. It doesn’t exist. As members of the public we don’t really know who the cops are looking for,” he said.

Ninety minutes after his first media appearance, a radio interview, he was contacted by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner by email. The message from the commissioner advised him he was breaking the law by posting the videos online and threatened a 100,000 Euro fine.

“We note the noble intentions of the site to assist in the identification of criminals who were captured on film engaged in criminal acts. This Office views a photograph or image of an individual as personal data,” the message said.

“In accordance with the Data Protection Acts 1988 & 2003, a data controller can only process the personal data of an individual with their consent or in a limited number of circumstances listed under Section 8 of the Data Protection Acts. Section 2 B of the Data Protection Acts impose further restrictions on the processing of 'sensitive' personal data. The commission or alleged commission of an offence is considered to be 'sensitive' personal data."

The letter goes on to say that it can’t find any exemption in the act that would allow a person other than law enforcement to post CCTV videos online. Further, it says if he starts posting videos supplied from other members of the public, “and this Office received a complaint from an individual, we would most likely find that the website is in breach of the Data Protection Acts."

“For me to do it right,” Waters said. “I would need to get permission from those individuals, which is kind of crazy. You would expect those kinds of protections for members of our society like children, but in Ireland data from the commission of a criminal offense is regarded as ‘sensitive’ and enjoys special protections?”

He said he thinks the state worries that published images could prejudice a trial. Despite the privacy commission’s rapid response to his radio interview, they still have not responded to his email asking for clarification. The videos have been removed from his website, but are still available on YouTube.

Irish CCTV Data Protection Rules

The Data Protection Act contains numerous provisions made to protect privacy (that go well beyond what a person would be accustomed to in the United States).

For example, section 2D of the Act requires that a person being filmed be informed of who is recording, why they are recording, and any third parties that the information may be provided.

“This can usually be achieved by placing easily- read and well-lit signs in prominent positions. A sign at all entrances will normally suffice,” the Data Protections Commissioner’s site says.

The statute also says, “Where images of parties other than the requesting data subject appear on the CCTV footage the onus lies on the data controller to pixelate or otherwise redact or darken out the images of those other parties before supplying a copy of the footage or stills from the footage.” Covert surveillance is "generally unlawful."

What’s confusing, however, is that the Act also says these provisions do not apply to home CCTV systems, yet the commissioner has targeted Waters.

In response my questions about that section of the law, the Commissioner's Office released a statement saying, "This exemption however would not generally extend to the publication of footage from such systems on the internet and would not permit an organisation, that is not a law enforcement authority, to publish that footage online. There would be no issue with the provision of footage from domestic CCTV systems to An Garda Siochana (Irish Police Force) to assist with their investigations where required."

Waters hopes the Data Commissioner's lack of response to his letter means he is reconsidering how the law would apply to this case and that they will see the benefits of posting CCTV footage online, but he's not holding his breath.

"I hope something will change, but everyone is kind of waiting on the authorities to analyze this and see where it goes from there," he said.

Comments (6): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Panasonic Unified Surveillance Strategy Analyzed on Nov 17, 2017
Panasonic is now a "Unified Surveillance" offering, as their ASIS 2017 booth proclaimed: Looking to make a comeback in the security industry,...
WSJ Investigates Hikvision on Nov 13, 2017
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has released a detailed investigation into Hikvision's government ownership and cybersecurity problems, hitting the...
Genetec Citigraf Big Data Platform Analyzed on Oct 26, 2017
A big industry debate is whether VMS software is now a commodity. However, Genetec believes it can charge a substantial premium for higher-end...
Search More Important Than Live Monitoring - Statistics on Oct 18, 2017
Search is overall more important than live monitoring to integrators, according to new IPVM statistics.  The key themes found in integrator...
Exporting Video Surveillance Tutorial on Oct 05, 2017
Exporting video surveillance is important when incidents or crimes occur. However, there are multiple ways to export video which have their pros...
ASIS Show 2017 Final Report on Sep 27, 2017
ASIS is in Dallas for 2017 and this is our final show report (compare to our 2016 ASIS show report). When walking in, one is greeted with Dahua's...
Genetec Launches Community Connect Examined on Sep 14, 2017
Genetec has done best in large-scale, enterprise systems and relatively worse in smaller systems such as SMB. Now, Genetec is launching...
Neurala Deep Learning Platform Profile on Aug 31, 2017
Find lost children? If Neurala has its way with its recent partnership with Motorola, that is the aim as shown in their video below: Neurala has...
US Army Bans Chinese DJI Drones on Aug 08, 2017
The US Army has issued a ban on Chinese-made DJI drones. A US Army memo obtained by sUAS News references a classified document from the Army...
ShotSpotter IPOs, Facing Low Revenue and Losses on Jun 09, 2017
A rare event for North American security manufacturers has happened. ShotSpotter has IPOed on the NASDAQ, raising $30.8 million. US IPOs,...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Panasonic Unified Surveillance Strategy Analyzed on Nov 17, 2017
Panasonic is now a "Unified Surveillance" offering, as their ASIS 2017 booth proclaimed: Looking to make a comeback in the security industry,...
Amazon Cloud Cam Is Poor (Tested) on Nov 17, 2017
Retail behemoth Amazon has entered the surveillance market with the Amazon Cloud Cam, the eyes of its just-announced Amazon Key delivery...
Nest Secure Alarm System Tested on Nov 16, 2017
Google's expansion continues, this time into home security with their Nest subsidiary's move into alarm systems. They paid more than a...
Dahua Forbes 'Next Web Crisis' Vulnerability Dispute on Nov 16, 2017
The buffer overflow vulnerability in Dahua products is not in dispute, in fact we covered it when it was first published. What is in dispute is...
Isonas Cofounders Split, Launch Partner/Competitor on Nov 16, 2017
Breaking up is hard to do, especially when door access security is at stake. But that is exactly what has happened at Isonas. Senior employees...
Hikvision China Criticizes The WSJ on Nov 15, 2017
Hikvision, through the Chinese government's authoritative news service, has criticized the WSJ investigation into Hikvision. In this...
PoE UPS Tested (Energy Reconnect) on Nov 15, 2017
In security, backup power is important, but most often requires UPS systems or extra cabling to devices for low voltage power. Now, some have...
Axis Commits To Long-Term Firmware Support on Nov 15, 2017
With the rise of cyber security awareness, and a general increase in hardware reliability, "software warranties" may prove more valuable than...
Hikvision NVR 4.0 Improvements Tested on Nov 14, 2017
Hikvision has released firmware version 4.0 for select NVRs, touting two years of research and development, and claiming "the new generation GUI...
Vivotek Remote Stack Overflow Vulnerability on Nov 14, 2017
A stack overflow vulnerability in Vivotek cameras has been discovered by bashis, the security researcher who has also found vulnerabilities in...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact