The use of CCTV cameras by organisations in Singapore is subject to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). This means that businesses are required to pay a lot more attention to how they set up and use CCTV as compared to homeowners in Singapore. According to the PDPA, your business has to comply with at least these three obligations: reasonable purpose, consent, and notification of individuals being recorded. To help you get your CCTVs lawfully up and running, here is a guide on the proper use of CCTV cameras for business surveillance in Singapore!
First, what is the Personal Data Protection Act? The PDPA is put in place to provide basic protection of an individual’s personal data in Singapore. It regulates the collection, use, disclosure and care of personal data while recognising the reasonable need for organisations to collect, use, and disclose personal data for legitimate purposes.
When your business uses CCTV to record an individual, the collected video footage is counted as personal data. Given that, CCTV usage has to be regulated by specific guidelines to protect the privacy of the individual.
Using CCTV outside or inside business premises
You are allowed to install CCTV cameras outside of your business premises. However, CCTV cameras installed outside your premises have to be in place for reasonable purposes.
Depending on whether the outside of your business premises is in a publicly accessible or non-publicly accessible area, you’ll have to obtain consent from individuals and notify them that they are being surveilled. Public areas include shopping malls, restaurants, food courts, while non-public areas include locations that require keycard access to enter. In other words, you need not obtain consent and notify individuals that they are under surveillance in a public area, but you do need to get permission and notify individuals for surveillance in a non-public area
Within your business premises, the same rules apply. For example, in an office setting that requires employees to enter using keycards, you should notify and get consent from your employees to surveil them.
How to notify and get consent
Regardless of whether you’re setting up CCTV in a publicly accessible or non-publicly accessible area, it is always a good practice to notify and get consent from individuals. You can do so by putting a notice at entryways. This simultaneously functions to obtain permission from individuals entering; with the notice, individuals who enter the premises are deemed to have given their consent upon entry.
The notice that you put up should also explicitly state the purpose for CCTV surveillance, for instance, “CCTV installed for security purposes”.
Providing access to CCTV footage
Under the PDPA, individuals who request access to personal data should generally be granted access by the organisation. This means that if a person requests to view CCTV footage of themselves, you are required to give them access to the video footage. Your business should provide them with the footage, as well as information as to how their footage has been used and/or disclosed as soon as reasonably possible.
Should other individuals be present in the video footage, you should mask out the faces of these other individuals or obtain consent from the other individuals for disclosure of their personal data.
Overall, make sure that your CCTV cameras are installed for reasonable purposes, and that individuals that are being recorded have been notified and given their consent to being surveilled. Generally, a licensed and experienced CCTV company in Singapore will assist you with the initial recommendation to where to install your CCTV cameras, ensuring that they are properly set up for reasonable purposes. Afterwhich, it is up to you to set up signs to inform individuals of the surveillance.
You should note that there are also many other surveillance laws for businesses in Singapore that you should be aware of. Find a more comprehensive explanation of these laws at pdpc.gov.sg.
One Stop Office Solutions is a leading CCTV surveillance company in Singapore, providing consultation services for businesses looking to set up a CCTV surveillance system in and around their premises. We recommend only the best solutions to meet your security needs. Get in touch with us today.
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