As of March 2000, the the Data Protection Act and its CCTV Code of practice sets out standards that must be strictly adhered to by individuals or companies who operate CCTV systems.

Legally enforceable standards now apply to the collection and processing of CCTV images.

In other words, standards are now enforceable in CCTV usage just as they have been for many years where companies process personal data stored on computers.

Until the 1st March 2000, there was no statutory basis for systematic legal control of CCTV surveillance over public areas, which includes places of work and retail outlets.

The Data Protection Commissioner's CCTV code of practice has been drawn up for specific reasons. The public need to be reassured that safeguards are in place to prevent misuse of CCTV images. Also, it is vital that CCTV operators understand their legal obligations.

The code will be kept constantly under review in order to ensure that it remains relevant to ever changing technology and CCTV applications. This will help maintain public confidence in CCTV usage and will also assist CCTV operators to remain compliant with the law.

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