ICO consultation over surveillance technologies to cover drones

By Graeme Burton
21 May 2014 View Comments
AR.Drone Parrot

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is considering allowing "fair processing" notices to be posted on websites and social media.

The relaxation of the rules is part of a consultation over a new draft code of practice for the use of CCTV systems and other surveillance technologies. Organisations have until the end of July to respond with comments.

Further reading

The ICO has urged respondents to "think creatively" about how they can notify individuals about their "processing activities" in regard to video surveillance.

The draft guidelines are becoming increasingly relevant as drone surveillance becomes cheaper and consequently more popular.

"If you are considering using such devices, you will need to come up with appropriate and potentially innovative ways of informing individuals of their rights," explained the ICO's draft document.

"If a drone is to be operating in a specific area at a specific time then it may be that the organisation operating the drone can use social media to promote the usage and provide a link to the related privacy notice and any other relevant information."

The Data Protection Act requires that people's personal data is processed "fairly and lawfully", and organisations need to ensure that people to whom the data relates, whether text in a database or visual data, can identify the legal "data controller" and the purposes for which the data will be processed or used.

In particular, the ICO warned that the use of audio recording equipment might be particularly fraught as there are few circumstances in which it might be justified.

Organisations should also review their use of surveillance technologies at least once a year to make sure that their use remains compliant with data protection laws, the ICO added.

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