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An Introduction to Video Surveillance Systems [2023]

An Introduction to Video Surveillance Systems [2023]


The installation of security cameras or video surveillance areas continues to raise doubts today, especially regarding data protection regulations. Using these measures implies processing personal data (the image of people, vehicle license plates, etc.). For this aim, in this article, we will see what the regulations say about video surveillance so that our security cameras comply with the law.

What Regulations Regulate Video Surveillance & Installation of Cameras?

The first object we must define is the regulations regulating the installation and use of security cameras or video surveillance areas. We cannot say that there is a video surveillance law itself, but we must go to different rules to know the regulations applicable to video surveillance.

Specifically, We Refer To:

The data protection regulations, RGPD and LOPDGDD. Insofar as the capture of images of people or elements that can serve to identify people, is considered personal data processing and, therefore, they are under the umbrella of these regulations, Although it is true that it is in the LOPDGDD where we find a direct mention of video surveillance, specifically, its article 22 says regarding the treatment for video surveillance purposes that:

“Natural or legal persons, public or private, may carry out the processing of images from camera or video camera systems to preserve the safety of people and property, as well as their facilities.”

  • Law 5/2014 on Private Security refers to private security agencies.
  • The Workers’ Statute, regarding the use of security cameras to control workers’ activity by the employer.

How to Adapt Our Security Cameras to Current Regulations?

To adapt the use of our video surveillance cameras to the regulations. We will have to comply with the obligations of each of the laws that we have mentioned above. In addition, we must know that only the State Security Forces and Bodies, as well as some entities accredited for this. They can install security cameras outside and point to public roads

Now, about the data protection law, the security camera regulations establish the following obligations:

  • Video surveillance images must be include in the record of treatment activities.
  • Although express consent is not necessary to install the security cameras. It is mandatory to inform the interested parties of the presence of the cameras and their purpose. Placing the corresponding information poster for this purpose.
  • Security cameras can only be place in the places provide by law. Their installation is prohibited in common areas, bathrooms and changing rooms, or any place where privacy is presume, as well as on public roads or pointing to public roads.
  • The period of conservation of the images or recordings is one month. After which they must be destroyed (unless required as part of an investigation).
  • Access to the images of the security cameras must be limit to the data controller or, where appropriate, to the personnel of the security company in charge of the cameras.

In any case, installing video surveillance cameras must constantly respond to proportionality and data quality principles and respect the right to privacy and one’s image.

Video Surveillance in the Company

The regulations on video surveillance allow the installation of security cameras in the workplace. Provided that this is a proportionate and adequate security measure. Since it is within the right of direction and control of the work activity of the employer. Recognized as such within the Workers’ Statute.

However, the fact that the installation of video surveillance cameras is permitted does not imply that there are no legal considerations and obligations to take into account, apart from those already mention in the previous section.

Information About the Existence of Cameras

As we have already said, the employer must inform employees and visitors about the existence of the security cameras, for which they must resort to the corresponding information poster, placed in a visible place.

Employees must also be inform of the possibility of being record at work in their employment contract or through other informative documentation. Such as this communication model for installing video surveillance cameras.

Video Surveillance on Workers

It is essential that when video surveillance on workers is carry out to control or inspect work activity. They are duly inform about it; as we already mention. The measure must be proportional, and there should not be a less intrusive method to achieve the same ends.

Suppose you are going to install security cameras in your company. In that case, you must inform your employees in advance of the purpose of the cameras. Primarily if they are intend to control work activity, because if you do not do so, you may not be capable of using the images captured as evidence in a judicial proceeding (for example, to prove the reason for a disciplinary dismissal). If you already have the cameras installed and have not informed your employees, do so as soon as possible.

In any case, this information, which must be clear and understandable, must include:

  • The characteristics and scope of the data processing to be carry out
  • When and under what circumstances may recordings be analyze
  • How long will they can kept, and for what purpose?
  • Specify that the recordings may be use to impose disciplinary sanctions for non-compliance with the worker’s obligations.

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