Don’t Let CCTV Camera Systems In Blocks Of Flats Bite Your Fire & Security Company On The Bum

Since May 2018, the GDPR has caused lots of confusion for Fire and Security professionals. It has made you look at your marketing and how you store your customers’ data.

But that’s not what this blog post is about. Because some CCTV Systems installers are still struggling with the way that GDPR also impacts how you quote certain jobs.



Access to CCTV camera footage for blocks of flats

This was a question that we asked on LinkedIn recently.

When installing CCTV cameras in a block of privately-owned apartments, can you give the mobile app login to all residents so they can view the footage? Thoughts please?

Dave Hopkins of RDS Fire and Security, was the first to give his view. RDS are specialist subcontractors for fire and security installers and M&E companies in London, Essex and Kent.

Justifying Data retention, what/for how long and how/where it is stored, i.e. is it secure etc, is a big part of the design and implementation of CCTV these days.

Giving residents access to footage removes all control with what happens to that footage. A resident with access to an app could easily contrevene the system data retention policy in a number of ways. So I would say no for that reason alone.

Tom Crown of Falcon Fire and Security in High Wycombe, Bucks agreed that it was

…a theoretical question for the operator (the residents management company) and not the installation company.

But he went on to say:

If the CCTV cameras are for reasonable purposes; and if there is appropriate signage stating the operator is ‘the residents’ or similar ; and if the management company creates a suitable CCTV policy… Then I don’t see why the App login details can not be shared.

Consider creating user groups to restrict access to communal cameras plus a particular resident’s own floor only? Depending on the building layout and residents concerns for privacy this may be practical.

Eoghan Kenny of The Compliance Team told us:

This is a tricky one without doing a full risk assessment and a DPIA on the specific case in question. There are many factors: placement of the cameras, what they observe, internal vs external, are the public spaces public or restricted to residents, etc.

This is not a domestic deployment of CCTV as the Management Company is the data controller.

With regards to sharing the footage with the residents, you would need to ensure a legal basis for processing; taking into account each residents expectation of privacy.

The current purpose of the CCTV is also important. If the management company has installed these for crime prevention and to ensure health and safety, then there is no reason for the residents to have access. If they wish to access, they can do so through a formal request.

A possible solution is to get a third party involved to run the CCTV, not the management company, that would have 24 hour monitoring.

Another possibility is to have a formal residents committee assigned as data processors, put a data processing agreement in place between them and the management company (data controllers) and allow those members access to the CCTV footage.

What the ICO said:

Registration would be required under GDPR.

This is because you would be unable to rely on the domestic CCTV exemption because there would be access to the footage for all the residents of the flats and, therefore, this takes you outside the exemption as it is more than just one person with cameras on their on their property with sole access to the footage.

Registration can be applied for online at:

These are all valid and relevant ways of dealing with this tricky problem. But coming up with these solutions requires a good working knowledge of the implications of the GDPR. AND a thorough examination of ALL the possible scenarios for each individual situation.

Will the person doing your Site Surveys ask the right questions?

For a CCTV camera quote covering an entire apartment block, you will need to ask more detailed questions. It’s not the same as a regular domestic system.

Whilst an enquiry may come through for a CCTV system for one flat within a block, the owner may be unaware of the requirements of the managing agent of that property.

We recommend devising a proper script for your site surveys to ensure you get all the information that you need in different scenarios.

And documenting what was said on a tablet or in a good old-fashioned notebook.

Feedback we have received says that potential customers actually PREFER this note taking. They are reassured that your employee will REMEMBER what they said and quote for the right things.

Why are we telling you this?

Because Lollipop is a specialist growth agency for Fire and Security companies. Understanding some of the more complex aspects of your INDUSTRY helps us to market YOUR BUSINESS in the best way possible. It helps us to show off what makes you and your team DIFFERENT!

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