08 April 2009

Are CCTV images electronic communications?

Just a thought with regard to The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009.

Can CCTV images be construed such that they fall under the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations of 2009?

If they can and they are transmitted over a public network then it is incumbent upon the network provider to make copies of them and retain them for a year.

Further, regulation 7, in part provides,

"Access to data retained in accordance with these Regulations may be obtained only—


(b) in circumstances in which disclosure of the data is permitted or required by law.

In other words the images can be used by anyone who has a right of discovery.

If the copying was done automatically this would make it so much harder for the police to lose CCTV images.

Even if this regulation doesn't cover CCTV images; have I just made a compelling argument for the copying and storing for a year of CCTV images such that the original images are out of the hands of the police?

Addendum - the question above has been asked of the Information Commissioner's Office. Will report back with any news.
Further thoughts, 20th Nov 2009.

In these regulations

"4.—(1) It is the duty of a public communications provider to retain the communications data specified in the following provisions of the Schedule to these Regulations— ..."

While, section 2 has it that,

(e) “public communications provider” means—

(i) a provider of a public electronic communications network, or

(ii) a provider of a public electronic communications service;

and “public electronic communications network” and “public electronic communications service” have the meaning given in section 151 of the Communications Act 2003

While section 151 of the Communications Act 2003 defines,

"“public electronic communications network” means an electronic communications network provided wholly or mainly for the purpose of making electronic communications services available to members of the public;"

In short, police CCTV cameras cannot be construed as being part of a "public electronic communications network".

Power is asymmetry - in this case, asymmetry of access to information.

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