Surveillance cameras in place since before 10 June 2007: last chance to breng them into line with the law

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Date:
03 Jun 2010

<p>Three years ago, on 10 June 2007, the Law on Surveillance Cameras - often called 'the Camera Law' - came into force. The use of cameras in the workplace was already regulated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement n° 68.</p>

Three years ago, on 10 June 2007, the Law on Surveillance Cameras – often called 'the Camera Law' - came into force. The use of cameras in the workplace was already regulated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement n° 68.

The Camera Law, however, contains a few new and specific obligations for companies that use cameras not only for the supervision of employees at the workplace, but also for the prevention of criminal offences committed by outsiders in the public spaces of the company.

Often, the same camera system is being used simultaneously for these different purposes. Consider the example of a hypermarket or a bank branch that uses cameras in the first place for the supervision of their employees, and secondly for the prevention of criminal offences (for example, theft) committed by customers.

The Camera Law gives companies which had already introduced surveillance cameras before the law came into force until 10 June 2010 to comply with the law. This means that:

  • a registration must be done via the e-service of the Privacy Commission (www.privacycommission.be);
  • an icon that indicates the use of surveillance cameras to the public must be installed at the entrance;
  • the images may only be viewed on-line for the immediate intervention in criminal offences;
  • the images may only be recorded and saved (basically for the maximum duration of one month) for the gathering of evidence of criminal offences and - if necessary - to trace and identify the perpetrators, witnesses or victims.

Since violations of this law are sanctioned by criminal penalties, it is important for all companies with surveillance cameras to ensure that their systems are in conformity with the Camera Law by the 10 June deadline. Moreover, all evidence obtained contrary to the law, can subsequently be considered as illegally obtained evidence.