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CCTV and Data Protection Issues in Hong Kong
Category : General 05 Aug 2009 09:30 AM
Introduction.
Within the Honk Kong Special Administrative Region there are already clearly defined Data Protection Principles regarding the use of personal data in e-business; which detail the responsibilities of data holders and the rights of the individuals to whom that data refers. An interesting conundrum arises over where the use of CCTV stands in terms of the DPP, regarding the use of CCTV as a monitoring tool and the rights of individuals recorded on the CCTV system, which is in turn part of a growing area of concern for all citizens - that of e-privacy. For the purposes of this article we’ll restrict ourselves to considering DPP and e-privacy regarding CCTV systems installed in the work-place, be it an office or factory floor etc.
Intruder security CCTV.
Intruder CCTV systems could be installed for a variety of purposes determined by the managers of the business. It could be that the intention was to use the CCTV system solely for security purposes when the business premises were not open and working. It would actually be a fallacy to say that in such a circumstance the business concerned would not need to consider both the DPP and current e-privacy guidelines. Although the cameras would not be directly collecting ‘personal data’ on any unauthorized intruder, if later apprehended the CCTV recording may well help to identify the intruders, so DPP and e-privacy issues could become important. In order to prevent such a situation compromising any legal proceedings against the intruder(s), businesses are advised to post adequate warnings at strategic points notifying anyone in the area that CCTV monitoring is in operation and may be used in legal proceedings. Also, were the intruder CCTV to be used to then later monitor the workforce - without paying due regard to the DPP, the business concerned could actually find itself in contravention of the DPP.
Workforce monitoring with CCTV.
The use of CCTV to deliberate monitor your own workforce is a different matter. In monitoring your workforce you will be using any data collected to, presumably, discipline your staff in the event of inappropriate behaviors; theft and fraud etc or even simply, well how can we put it - skiving! First of all, there is absolutely nothing to stop you doing this, but you do need to be very careful that you are complying fully with the DPP and are at least cognizant and sympathetic to general principles of e-privacy. This means that you must at least have clearly visible signs warning the employees of CCTV monitoring, if not by each camera then certainly in every room/area that is monitored.
Best practice on workplace CCTV systems.
The best practice in workplace CCTV systems, or indeed anything to do with the DPP, begins with having a clearly defined policy on its usage that is fully explained to your employees. If you should try to install a covert CCTV system to monitor your workforce, in the event of trying to use any CCTV material against an employee - you are almost certainly going to lay yourself open to accusations of operating the CCTV counter to the DPP. So, regarding having either general DPP or specific CCTV usage policies - if necessary seek expert advice from one the more reputable and established IT solutions companies in Hong Kong like Dual Layer Solutions.