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

Burglar Alarm Zoning Guide on Apr 28, 2017
The function of an alarm panel is to gather information from sensors and respond to this information by triggering actions. While it is possible to...
A Marketing Home Run For Knightscope - Man Attacks Robot on Apr 27, 2017
We criticize Knightscope regularly - their lack of revenue, their trying to fool mom 'n pop investors, their associating themselves with a clueless...
Burglar Alarm Strobes Guide on Mar 31, 2017
Strobes provide visual notification of alarm incidents, as sirens are used to give audible notification. Using a strobe gives alarm users and alarm...
2Gig Intrusion Megatest (GC2 & GC3 Panels Tested) on Mar 28, 2017
2Gig is one of the most widely used intrusion systems, with two product lines that are the main offering of many alarm companies, huge national...
Simplisafe Warns Customers About Alarm Fines on Mar 17, 2017
Simplisafe markets themselves as a 'better way' than traditional professional alarm companies. However, in one key way, Simplisafe hides the...
Alarm Panic Switches Tutorial on Mar 16, 2017
Panic switches allow silently triggering an alarm system when it is otherwise disarmed. In this tutorial we explain and contrast the 7 most common...
Genetec Comments on Washington DC MPD Hack on Mar 13, 2017
This January, the Washington DC police video surveillance system was hacked with ransomware, impacting 123 of 187 cameras. Last month, IPVM...
SimpliSafe Camera Tested on Mar 07, 2017
SimpliSafe is one of the most controversial companies in the industry, as they have become the symbol of the DIY threat to traditional alarm...
Washington DC MPD's Surveillance Equipment on Feb 21, 2017
The Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department's surveillance system was hacked in January 2017. Two immediate questions were: Whose...
Hikvision Ezviz Mini 360 Plus - $80 Autotracking Camera Tested on Feb 21, 2017
Autotracking, integrated IR, local storage, full HD, cloud access: $80. That is the claim of Hikvision EZVIZ's new Mini 360 Plus. But for this...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Instant Cloud For Hikvision - Manything on Apr 28, 2017
One ISC West exhibitor had a very specific and clear pitch - cloud for Hikvision: In this note, we examine their offering, key differentiators,...
Milestone GPU Enhanced VMD Tested on Apr 28, 2017
In their 2017 XProtect release, Milestone announced support for hardware accelerated video motion detection, touting a 2X increase in server...
Burglar Alarm Zoning Guide on Apr 28, 2017
The function of an alarm panel is to gather information from sensors and respond to this information by triggering actions. While it is possible to...
Avigilon Discontinuing Rialto Analytics Line on Apr 27, 2017
Avigilon is informing dealers/partners that the legacy VideoIQ Rialto products have been discontinued, recommending the newer ACC ES Analytics...
A Marketing Home Run For Knightscope - Man Attacks Robot on Apr 27, 2017
We criticize Knightscope regularly - their lack of revenue, their trying to fool mom 'n pop investors, their associating themselves with a clueless...
The World's First Fashion IP Camera From Amazon on Apr 27, 2017
Some analytics cameras can tell you if a person is jumping a fence, or loitering in a secure area, but none of them can tell you if the person...
Last Day - IP Networking Course May 2017 on Apr 26, 2017
Today is the last day to register for the May IP Networking Course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video...
Hikvision EZVIZ Amazon Scam Revealed on Apr 26, 2017
Hikvision is violating US Federal Trade Commission guidelines and Amazon rules with a "Honest" Review Program scheme that provides gift cards to...
Anixter CEO Admits Price Deflation and Non-Exclusive Integrator Sales on Apr 26, 2017
Anixter's CEO has admitted to (1) price deflation impacting IP camera sales and (2) not always being 'exclusive' with security integrators. In...
Xandem Next Gen Intrusion Tested on Apr 26, 2017
Xandem's "full coverage motion tracking technology" is unlike any intrusion technology we have seen. We bought their new system and tested it...

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