EXTERNAL CCTV cameras on buses have been defended by the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure, following an accusation by the Data Protection Supervisor that the use of these cameras could be a breach of privacy laws.
Iain McDonald revealed his office has issued an enforcement notice against the department, with an initial hearing before the Data Protection Tribunal scheduled for late April.
Mr McDonald said that the cameras can capture images as far as 45 metres away and 15 metres either side of the bus, meaning people may have had their images recorded while in the privacy of their own property.
He said that these ‘extensive recordings of the Manx public as they go about their daily business’ contravened people’s fundamental right to know who is processing their personal data, and why.
However, the DCCL has argued that CCTV is vital for public and passenger safety, and the footage is destroyed after 56 days and is only viewed in response to specific incidents.
The department said that although it didn’t tell the public of its plans, other agencies were consulted in advance.
Michael Cartwright, Head of Operations for Public Transport, said: ‘Buses are generally fitted with internal and external CCTV, it’s standard these days. Any built in the last 10 years will have them installed, anywhere in the world.It’s hard to buy a bus in today’s market without them.
‘They are fitted for crime detection purposes, and for insurance claims, insurance companies like to see the footage.’
He referred to a recent BBC documentary featuring cases in Liverpool and York where insurance fraud had been detected after external CCTV footage from a bus had been reviewed.
Mr Cartwirght said: ‘The hearing centres around our compliance with data protection. Quite clearly we need to comply with the act and put in the public domain the fact that the buses have external CCTV.’
He added: ‘The footage is retrievable as and when required, but is not stored.’
The department is appealing against the enforcement notice, and will continue to use the cameras while the issue is resolved.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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