Video surveillance: recent legal interpretations/rulings on the storage of recorded images
The practice of deadlines for storage of images recorded by video surveillance systems has become increasingly important in the context of the correct legal and technical management of these devices, even in the face of technological developments that allow more and more detailed shots and needs of companies. In this context, the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data, since April 2010, issued a special general ruling on video surveillance (Doc. No web. 1712680) that identifies key requirements facing businesses including compliance with the provisions of image storage times.
On this last aspect to the general ruling it establishes that the images should be retained for the time strictly necessary for security reasons and in any event for up to 24 hours of their detection. Only in the case in which the company carries out particularly hazardous activities it’s allowed a longer storage time, not longer than a week and this in order to protect interests deemed worthy of a greater defence, such as security and public safety. However, there have been several pronouncements of the Guarantor Authority for the Protection of Personal Data, designed to allow such storage for prolonged periods. In this regard, the latest Guarantor Authority’s determination is that of 7 April 2016 (web doc. No. 5063704), in relation to a preliminary request (pursuant to art. 17 of the Privacy Code) by two companies, operating in the sector of so-called video lottery namely collecting game activities to means of terminals video equipment. Such companies have made the request due to the need to safeguard the company’s assets from possible illegal actions and assist police in the investigation aimed at identifying those responsible. The two companies, after declaring that some of their gambling assets had been involved in criminal activities, pointed out that certain offences (in particular, a shortfall of money) required complex control activities, to count the money collected. These activities need to be performed taking into account both the needs of cost management and time required for the examination of the records and control of hundreds of machines installed.
The authority has considered legitimate demands for the lengthening of storage times up to 15 days. A request by one of the most important companies operating in the luxury services sector, (a prestigious Italian brand marketing jewellery, watches, accessories, perfumes and cosmetics through its own boutique) obtained authorisation for the preservation of the images for a 7-month period (Authority determination of 25 June 2015- Doc. web. 4173504).