The phenomenon of video-surveillance, the proliferation of cameras in different enviornments of the life, has made it necessary to have control over the recordings so that they are not an intrusion on the privacy of citizens. That is to say, to the cameras designed for traffic control and those used by different police bodies they have added up the dependent ones of the different businesses dedicated to security in Navarra.
Although for the moment there is not reason for particular charges over this, the increase in the number of video sistems in the streets, plazas and work places is stated act from the own companies that work in the security sector. As a result of the increase in consults and complaints related with this question, the Spanish Agency of Data Protection elaborated an instruction in December of 2006 for that which the use might be regluated, although it only intervienes in case of a charge, for one does not realize inspections over the different cameras.
The “sensation of increasing insecurity” and how the best technologies that have considerably lowered the price of this resource are two of the reasons for the increase in the instalation of video-surveillance by part of businesses and sellers, as explains Ignacio Ibáñez, of the business Sabico. “Three years ago a boom was registered in this sector, now we find ourselves before a powerful growth,” he notes. The fact is that, while before the surveillance cameras were reserved for the big comapanies – besides banks and jewlery stores that are required by law –, in reality the security market has expanded to the PYMES and small businesses.
December 2006 document before the rise in complaints about the cameras
The growing worry of citizens about the possibility that these cameras will violate the right to privacy caused the Spanish Agency of Data Protection to make a public instruction on December 6th last year for which reglated “the treatment of personal data having to do with surveillance through camera and video-camera systems.” This agency is competent in all of the State, although the CAV, Madrid and Catalunya also have their own administrations that are in charge of public recordings in their respective territories. The competences for the private filmings are exclusive for the cited agency.
The fundamental objective of the instruction that began last March is to balance the security and the surveillance “with the fundamental right of the protection of the image.” In this sense, the document regulates the permissions for installing cameras and the requirements that these should comply with, like its inscription in a file of the agency. In this ambience, sources of the institution underline the answer “positive” registered from its publication and already in December there were 390 regeistered files at the state level, now 2,603 exist, showing evidence of the effectiveness of this norm.
But besides this register, the installed systems of video-surveillance should comply with a series of requirements. The first of this is that of “proportionality.” In practice, this is to say that before installing a camera one should contemplate another series of methods less intrusive to the privacy and not allow it that the recording devices are placed in sensitive places, like bathrooms or dressingrooms.
The notice and the register are two of the conditions that should complete the person who places a camera of video-surveillance in his or her establishment. In this sense, it’s essential to situate in the installation zone “at least a distinctive informative sign placed in a sufficiently visible place, as much in open places as closed ones,” indicates the norm. At the same time, one should notify the Spanish Agency of Data Protection of the creation of a folder of these characteristics, excluding those that emit miages in real time but don’t record them.
Another of the questions is regarding the cameras that record on the streets. These are prohibited if they are not necessary for the objective that they are trying to protect. “It has to do with protecting the privacy, that cannot gain access to a particular living space or business of another person,” explained Ibáñez. That’s how, a installed video in a business will have to make note of it from its own door. Finally, in relation to the recordings, these will be able to be conserved for a maximum of 30 days after which the files will need to be destroyed.
Watching the watcher
Inspections are not realized as the Agency only acts if there are charges
Although state instruction was motivated by the increase in charges over this subject, in Navarra it is not well know that these have been produced. In fact, not in the 16 currently open records by the Agency is it known about the complains in the Foral Community nor in the Consummers’ Association Irache that calls have been recieved by users concerned over this matter. Anyhow, the lack of control over the recordings is evident in the act of responsibility of a good use of the video-surveillance by the proprieter of the cameras and no organism – not political or of other kind – is in charge of making sure the videos comply with the norm. In this sense, the Agency only acts if there exists a charge or if for another motive it becomes evident that the rights it protects are threatened.
Manuel Arizcun, director of Irache Consummers, stated that, even though it has not received complaints at this moment, the association is already interested in the matter, recognizing the “common feeling” to balance the security and the rights of the users and prevent a rise in conflicts.