Wednesday 13 December 2017

Privacy probe into CCTV at school

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A SCHOOL that installed CCTV in classrooms and a senior staff member's office is being investigated by the Data Protection Commissioner.

The commissioner received a complaint after the board of management of the school, which is in the Dublin area, arranged for the installation of the cameras.

The Data Protection Commissioner's office has sent a letter to the board of management and will be following up with a visit within weeks.

The incident is the latest in a series that has arisen as the use of CCTV becomes widespread in schools, usually as a means of countering problems such as bullying and vandalism.

But privacy issues arise and schools have to be careful that they do not breach data protection laws, as video footage is regarded as data under the legislation. There is particularly sensitivity about the processing of data relating to minors.

The Data Protection Commissioner says CCTV may be used for security related purposes at the perimeter of a school, but that any use beyond that would need to be fully justified.

"We have had cameras taken out of the classroom. No one has made a compelling case as to why you would need CCTV in a classroom," said Gary Davis, director of investigations at the office.

Irish Independent

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