CameraWatch was launched in Edinburgh yesterday. Despite it's name, it is not an activist group, it is an industry-funded advisory group. However, it did start with a few tips that may be useful to activists facing prosecution using CCTV images.
"Research shows that up to 90% of CCTV installations fail to comply with the Information Commissioner's UK CCTV Code of Practice and many installations are operated illegally. That has profound implications for the reputation of the CCTV and camera surveillance industry and all concerned with it. It‚s clear there is a need for an organisation dedicated to promoting the legal and effective use of CCTV. I’m not surprised there’s confusion. It’s a complex area not just covering appropriate siting and signage issues, but also various pieces of legislation. In particular, the Data Protection Act covers images of people and requires they are held securely if the data is to be used as legal and admissible evidence. Storing images of people is also impacted by the EU Human Rights Act. As things stand today, clever legal counsel could drive a horse and cart through most CCTV evidence and that is not in anybody’s best interests." (except the defendents !) http://www.firmmagazine.com/members/news.php?id=702
"The Data Protection Act is breached in several common ways. The most frequent is the failure to keep camera tapes secure. Under the Act, human images should be treated as confidential information in the same way as names, addresses and phone numbers. The arrival of digital cameras poses yet more problems; for the images can be transferred across open internet connections rather than remaining on a closed loop. Viewing monitors are often wrongly sited in public areas, so other people can see who is being filmed, and a number of the 3,500 CCTV systems are not registered under the Data Protection Act, as is required. Additionally, cameras are frequently used for another purpose than the one for which they were registered and the necessary clear signage is regularly missing." http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article1862457.ece