Do I have a legal right to obtain CCTV footage of myself?

What is meant by CCTV?

CCTV is the abbreviated term for Closed Circuit Television and refers to cameras used to film certain premises or public places in order to monitor what is happening in these places.

The use of CCTV in the United Kingdom

In the society in which we live there is constant use of CCTV footage. Mainly this is used for security concerns by business, shops, public places and is often administered by local councils in order to provide information to bodies such as the police.

Due to the continuing use of CCTV in the United Kingdom each person in our society will be filmed on CCTV throughout each and every day.

Are companies or security bodies able to put CCTV in place legally?

The use of CCTV by security bodies and public bodies such as local councils in the United Kingdom is perfectly legal due to the continued requirement to protect security within our society.

However, there is a feeling that this often goes too far and that people are unable to go about their daily lives without being filmed on CCTV.

Do I have a legal right to obtain footage of myself taken from CCTV?

Every person in England and Wales has the right to access images of themselves which may have been recorded by a CCTV camera system.

Under what legislation am I provided with this right?

The Data Protection Act 1998 ensures that all public bodies such as local councils are required to make any personal data available to them if requested.

What is meant by personal data?

Personal data is defined by the Data Protection Act as information that relates to an individual and is held by the public body.

Does footage taken by CCTV cameras fall within the definition of personal data?

Footage taken by CCTV cameras is taken to fall within the category of personal data as it relates to an individual as it is footage of that individual. Furthermore when this CCTV footage is held by a public body such as a local council in order to assist the police then this will be regarded as personal data.

Accordingly an individual will have a legal right under the Data Protection Act to be provided with access to this data.

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For more information on:

  • How do I make a request to be provided with CCTV footage of myself from a public body?
  • Where can I obtain the details of the owner of the system?
  • What information will I need to provide to them in order to obtain the CCTV footage?
  • Will I have to pay a fee to be provided with a copy of the CCTV footage?
  • How much is the fee likely to be?
  • When a public body receives a request for footage, how long do they have to legally respond?
  • Is it likely that they will send me an edited version?