WARNING OVER USE OF VIDEO SURVEILLANCE IN PUBLIC PLACES IN CONTEXT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The National Data Protection Commission warns that municipalities and private security companies are prohibited from carrying out video surveillance in public places, in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, which is “exclusively attributed” to public security forces.

The use of video surveillance and alarm systems, during the state of emergency, “is exclusively assigned” to the public security forces and services, warns the commission.

“The decreed state of emergency did not change public powers and powers, so the functions of controlling entry and displacement in the national territory remain centralized in the State, with the Local Public Administration and private entities being prohibited from using means of capture of images and sound in the public space for this purpose ”, explains the National Data Protection Commission (CNPD).

Explaining that, following the covid-19 pandemic, “several doubts” have been addressed to CNPD, the commission clarifies that the use of video surveillance and alarm systems, by private security entities, is defined in the law that regulates that activity “And does not cover public places of common use”, whose control is exclusively assigned to public security forces and services.

Private security companies are prohibited from carrying out activities corresponding to the exclusive powers of the judicial or police authorities,” recalls the commission.

And he adds that, thus, the functions of border control and the prevention and repression of crimes in the public space “fall exclusively” on the security forces and services dependent on the Ministry of Internal Administration.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) announced that the PSP will use 20 portable video surveillance cameras, 18 of which on ‘drones’, during the state of emergency.

The Deputy Secretary of State and Internal Administration, Antero Luís, issued an order authorizing the use of portable cameras and their installation in unmanned aerial vehicles (‘drones’) of the PSP.

The use of this means was proposed by the national director of the PSP for “protecting the safety of people and property, public or private, and preventing the practice of crimes in places where there is a reasonable risk of their occurrence”.

The MAI, in the statement issued, that the use of mobile cameras covers, in the area of ​​responsibility of the PSP, places of great concentration and movement of people, namely access to road and rail terminals, sports facilities, parks and public gardens and fences or sanitary cords.

But, in the same document, it says that the authorization given, through the order, will comply with the recommendation in Wednesday’s opinion, issued by CNPD on the use of video surveillance cameras, namely the advance warning about the area to be controlled by the cameras portables, and the data controller.

According to the law, the use of ‘drones’ must be previously communicated by the security forces to the office of the Assistant Secretary of State and Internal Administration, which, on behalf of the minister, will validate it.

The MAI, in that note, further clarifies that “when using cameras coupled to unmanned aerial vehicles, the light that identifies the presence of the aircraft must be activated in order to reinforce the informational dimension”.

And also that “it must be ensured that the capture of images safeguards the privacy of those who are in their respective homes or other buildings intended to be used with reservation”.

 

 


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