As part of a police campaign designed to identify individuals suspected of involvement in criminal activities a CCTV image of the appellant at age 14 was published. The Supreme Court ruled that this was not a breach of the appellant’s right to respect for his private life under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
The judges disagreed on whether publication of the image interfered with the appellant’s human rights. However, they were unanimous in holding that, had there been an interference, it was justified on the basis that it was necessary for the administration of justice.
They also said that the police were entitled to disclose the image under the Data Protection Act as the publication was for the purposes of the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.
CCTV installed on a family home for crime prevention purposes, which also monitors a public space, may or may not be lawful. The European Court of Justice said that it does not amount to processing of personal data in the course of a “purely personal or household activity”, which would have been legitimate. It mentioned various conditions and exemptions, which might have permitted the recording to lawfully take place, but did not explore these in any detail.
It is an interesting ruling and likely to have significant implications on the way in which CCTV can be used at home, if the CCTV even partially records a public space. The UK Information Commissioner has stated in its code of practice on CCTV and other surveillance technologies that it will review its position on the use of domestic CCTV following the ECJ’s judgment, and that this may lead to it updating its code or issuing supplementary guidance.
The ruling also gives a clue as to the way other recording devices may be treated if used in public spaces (for example, drones, body-worn video and wearable computing such as watches and glasses).