With an estimated 4 to 5.9 million security cameras across the UK, that’s one camera for every 13 people, it’s easy to see how they are part of our everyday life.
There are a lot of commonly asked questions when it comes to security cameras, from their functionality to how they can be used from a legal perspective. Here we will be debunking the myths and answering the questions that surround security cameras.
- What is CCTV and What Does It Stand For?
- Can CCTV Record Sound?
- Can I Use CCTV to Record Audio in my Business?
- Can CCTV be Hacked?
- Can CCTV be Used as Evidence?
- Are CCTV Cameras Always Recording?
- Where Can I Point My CCTV Camera?
- Do I Need A License for CCTV?
- Who Can View CTTV Footage?
- Final Thoughts
What is CCTV and What Does it Stand For?
CCTV, or Closed-Circuit Television is a form of surveillance that is not distributed to the public. It is transmitted to a single location and monitored for security purposes.
Only a select group of people like, the site security team, will be able to access it.
Can CCTV Record Sound?
As one of the top questions that is asked, this is a good one to start with. From a functionality perspective, yes, there are cameras and systems that can record audio.
These are becoming more commonplace as technology improves, with home security systems such as video doorbells rising in popularity and availability.
This isn’t the case for all systems however, as recording audio can be very expensive. Most CCTV units don’t have microphones to keep production costs down.
You also need to consider the quality of the recordings you’ll get from most CCTV. Relatively low-cost audio CCTV systems are going to be affected by background noise and interference, especially in a busy environment.
Can I Use CCTV to Record Audio in my Business?
It is unethical and illegal to record conversations without consent within the workplace as it violates the Right to Privacy section of the HRA 1998 or the British Bill of Rights. Everybody on the site must be made aware of the recording and why it is taking place.
There are however some instances where it is beneficial for audio to be recorded in the workplace. At call centers for training purposes, and in jobs that deal with members of the public where staff could find their safety put at risk.
If an employer installs CCTV in the workplace they must:
- Register as a data controller with the Information Commissioners Office and explain the purposes for the CCTV.
- All employees need to be informed they are being recorded. Signs posted around the area advertising the use of CCTV is usually done.
- Cameras can’t be installed in any private areas, such as bathrooms.
Can CCTV be Hacked?
With 46% of businesses reporting a cyber security breach within the last 12 months, it’s easy to see that cyber attacks are on the rise. This is no different for your CCTV system.
Private and sensitive information can be very lucrative for an opportunist who would hack into your CCTV. It could potentially be leveraged against you or used to extort something from you.
They can also be used to figure out a clear layout of the property if they do intend to break in later.
There are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a cyber attack on your camera system:
- Use strong passwords and two factor authentication
- Secure your wi-fi connection
- Keep your software up to date
Can CCTV be Used as Evidence?
CCTV can be used as evidence with a wide range of applications. The main benefit of CCTV is to offer a deterrent and provide footage should a crime be committed, so it only makes sense the video captured can be used as evidence.
These are some things you’ll need to make sure you do for CCTV to be used as evidence in court:
- The footage used from CCTV cameras needs to be high enough quality so that anyone being recorded can be identified.
- Any recorded images need to be securely stored to make sure it is not altered or viewed without permission.
- You should be able to easily export your footage so it can be viewed when needed.
It should be formatted so that investigators can replay the footage to make sure it can be used in court.
It can also be used as evidence in a work disciplinary. As many businesses will use it to protect their assets, it only stands to reason that a staff incident may be caught on it as well.
It may not be as straight forward as you would think, however. It’s important to remember where and how the images were captured.
- Employees must be informed of the extent of CCTV and the reason why it’s there
- It must not be used in areas where a right to privacy is expected (changing rooms, bathrooms)
- Employees must be consulted about the use of CCTV on the premises
Are CCTV Cameras Always Recording?
Yes, for the most part they will always be on and recording. This is going to maximise the security at the premises they are located.
Some may not record all the time dependent on their storage capabilities. Some may even be motion detected and only record when something is detected.
This all depends on what the user requires from the system. A retail store for example would have their CCTV recording always in case of any security risks during times they are not open to the public.
Where Can I Point My CCTV Camera?
If you are using CCTV domestically, you can film anything that resides within the boundaries of your private property.
Data protection laws will apply if you capture footage of your neighbors’ property and public areas.
It’s perfectly legal to capture this footage but you need to make sure you comply with data protection laws, especially if there are people captured in the footage.
This could be considered an invasion of privacy if your CCTV is recording areas that aren’t within the perimeter of your property. You would have to have a justifiable reason for doing so.
Do I Need a License For CCTV?
In short, no. You don’t need a license if it is being used on a domestic property and not for commercial use. It is recommended that you don’t allow your cameras to encroach on your neighbors property as this can cause an issue of privacy.
For commercial use however, there are a lot more regulations that must be followed. The owner must be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and make sure they are following the data protection license.
Who Can View CCTV Footage?
Employees in the monitoring office and local authorities will be able to view CCTV.
So there you have it, 9 of the most common questions about CCTV answered. If you’re considering a CCTV for your home, business or just about anywhere else we’d recommend considering the benefits of a CCTV system, and how they can positively impact the security of your property.
it’s always best to do some research beforehand to make sure you’re sticking to best practices and know what regulations you need to follow in order to be compliant.
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