Body cameras could be regulated

Wednesday 26th April 2017 4:10 am
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New laws are needed to deal with the possibility of ’secret shoppers’, and even members of the public, using body cameras to watch others.

Information commissioner Iain McDonald says use of surveillance systems ’continues to produce complaints and raise compliance concerns’.

In his annual report, he says some suggested uses of body worn video (BWV) are causing concern. There is no problem with police use because officers are covered by a strict code of practice.

But other uses are troublesome.

Individuals elsewhere have filmed confrontations with other people in road rage incidents, for example, which have been used in social media.

’The suggestions included members of the public routinely using BWV,’ he says. ’Other suggestions included use by "secret shoppers" to monitor staff performance.

’There are obvious implications for the individual’s right to privacy and, in some instances, the use could be seen as inflammatory and, rather than protect an individual, lead to confrontation or the commission of an offence.’

The government should consider drawing up new legislation to regulate ’the wide use of modern surveillance’.

Mr McDonald reveals that previously highlighted problems over the Department of Health and Social Care’s failure to comply with the right of access to personal data continued into 2016, to the point where draft summonses were prepared.

However, the department has now implemented new procedures which ’appear to be working satisfactorily’.

The commissioner warns businesses they need to be ready for the ’game-changing’ provisions of the European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in May 2018.

In addition to the GDPR, the police and criminal justice directive, covering data process for law enforcement purposes, will also need to be worked into law.

During 2016, there were 19 breaches of data protection rules identified, out of 31 assessments.

Most complaints centred on whether a data controller had allowed access to personal information.

Mr McDonald’s title has changed from data protection supervisor, to reflect the coming into effect of the Freedom of Information Act in 2016.

The report speaks of his office’s continuing work connected to its introduction.

It was revealed in Tynwald earlier this year that there were 91 Freedom of Information requests in the first 12 months, of which 10 had information withheld in full and 21 saw partial information disclosed - often because personal details were redacted.

There were two successful appeals against rulings.

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