Surveillance Cameras And Privacy At Work
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights is one that most are familiar with, this grants us the right to respect for private and family life.
An issue has recently arisen and the question being asked, is does surveillance in university auditoriums violate the right to privacy for Professor’s? The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) answered “yes”.
In the recent case of Antovic and Mirkovic v Montenegro, a university dean had placed video surveillance cameras in the lecture halls of the university in order to “protect the safety of property, people and students” and to monitor teaching. Only he had access to this footage, which was kept for a year. It was ordered by the ECHR that these cameras be removed, as there was no evidence provided to suggest that safety was a cause for concern or enough of a concern to warrant the use of these cameras. Furthermore, they held that surveillance of teaching was not at all supported by the law, as a ground for video surveillance.
The Courts did summarise that this decision doesn’t completely rule out the use of surveillance equipment in an auditorium, as they suggested that there may be good reasons for doing so. They simply stated that where this is the case, then the proper restrictions need to be complied with, which they weren’t in this example. Some of these restrictions include:
- there needs to be a proper legal basis for it;
- the scope of the surveillance is limited; and
- that there are guaranties against abuse.
How could this affect you?
Employers should be very careful about their use of surveillance equipment with regards to staff, so as not to encroach upon an employee’s right to respect of their private and family life.
If you are worried about your compliance with Article 8 or if you have any questions, please Talk to Tollers. We’re here for you.