CCTV sound recording - a step too far
The ICO has described the use of sound recording in CCTV equipment as "highly intrusive".
A new ICO code of practice outlines key issues which organisations and businesses must consider when routinely capturing images of individuals on CCTV.
The ICO warned that the use of sound recording could only be justified in highly exceptional circumstances.
The decision follows recent research revealing that seven out of 10 individuals oppose the idea of CCTV cameras recording their conversations.
Furthermore, over half of individuals are not aware that the use of CCTV cameras is covered by the Data Protection Act.
Jonathan Bamford, assistant commissioner at the ICO: "It is essential that organisations and businesses use CCTV responsibly in order to maintain public trust and confidence and to prevent its use becoming viewed as part of the 'surveillance society'."
No kidding. Obviously CTTV has considerable benefits in the fight against crime but arbitrarily recording sound along with images is, in most instances, a step too far. There cannot be many cases where the evidential value of CCTV footage is considerably increased by including sound material. Improving the image quality would perhaps be a more effective and meaningful way of removing ambiguity or adding clarity to further increase the value of video footage as a crime-fighting tool. And to be of any real worth, the microphones built in/accompanying the cameras would need to be so effective that they would be inadvertently documenting the conversations of millions of innocent citizens as they go about their business up and down the UK. The intrusiveness of such sound recorders would surely massively outweigh any potential advantages, except, possibly, in very rare circumstances.