It goes without saying that the use of CCTV or video surveillance technology has brought along an unprecedented level of security in every walk of life. If we think heartily about the surveillance system itself (a camera) is just a fixed, small object hanging from a roof or a wall. Which apparently should not act as a bid deterrent to the commitment of criminal offences such as stopping a burglar from breaking into a house, or traffic offences.
Nevertheless, it is crystal clear their instrumental role regarding citizens both physical and their property´ safety. As stated above, even though these technologies do not have any “physical power” against murders, robberies or flights they had proved themselves a key instrument from preventing them. Why are they so powerful?
The presence of a camera, far from being an irrelevant piece of plastic, has a huge impact on our subconscious mind. It has been proved time and time again, that we drastically change our behavior when we feel observed. If we take this fact as undisputable, no one can deny that they also infringe on our freedom, both inner and outward.
Nowadays, we can find surveillance cameras everywhere. We have been so accustomed to their presence that we even do not give them a second thought.
Any (legitimate) society is built upon the common belief, that as individuals we do have inalienable rights. These rights must be respected in every endeavor of live.
Even though, the utility of CCTV is far from being disputed we must be conscious of all its implications. This means that to strike a fair balance between fundamental rights, privacy and safety, is a must.
In some cases, our fundamental rights, such as freedom of movement; of religion, are also involved when assessing some type of video surveillance, among others. However, the main affected fundamental right is our right to privacy. Which under no circumstances should be compromised in such a way that it is being left without meaning. We must be aware that without the proper measures in place to guarantee the legitimacy of processing personal data (images), the use of these security systems are overridden by the fundamental right to privacy.
For that reason, it is so important that when using these technologies proper safeguards are adopted both by design and by default. Safeguards such as to inform the data subject of their rights as an individual (access, rectification, erasure and objection); what is the purpose of the processing of their personal data; the exclusiveness of the processing for that purpose; the period of storage and if there would be a transfer to any third party; among others. Without those fundamental measures there in no place for these technologies.