Council fined for unauthorised use of CCTV cameras

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CCTV camera

LIMERICK City and County Council has been fined €110,000 and  reprimanded by the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) regarding its use of CCTV cameras across the county.

The DPC found the council to be in breach of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 50 separate instances.

The investigation, which lasted more than three years, focused on the installation of more than 250 cameras with no lawful basis over the past 15 years and all associated data protection concerns regarding the cameras.

In multiple instances, the DPC found that there was no legal basis or Garda authorisation for the installation of cameras.

It also found that many cameras were being used for purposes other than that for which they were intended, and that the cameras had advanced technology, such as automatic number plate recognition (which can be used to track a private individual’s movements), without the correct authorisation.

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Limerick City and County Council said it is currently examining the decision and reviewing the implications with a view to taking all necessary and corrective actions. The Council is also taking all appropriate steps mandated and analysing the recommendations made in the decision.

“The decision by the Data Protection Commissioner is a lengthy and complex one and we are studying it carefully to ensure that we continue to protect the personal data of the people of Limerick,” a Council statement read.

“CCTV systems are used in Ireland and other countries around the world as part of a suite of measures to improve traffic management, urban mobility and to make the streets safer and more efficient for every user.

“CCTV can also be used to help prevent and detect crime and it can reassure and provide confidence to the public about community safety.

“We are working closely with the Data Protection Commissioner’s office and An Garda Síochána to resolve the matters raised in the decision,” the statement concluded.