PRAVNI ZAPISI • Year I • No. 2 • pp. 390-399
VIDEO SURVEILLANCE IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SPACE
Prof. dr dr h.c mult. Dimitrijević Vojin
Redovni profesor, Pravni fakultet Univerziteta Union u Beogradu
Pravni zapisi, no. 2/2010, pp. 390-399
Original Scientific Article
Human rights; Video surveillance; privacy; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; European Convention on Human Rights; European Court of Human Rights; UN Human Rights Committee
Video surveillance is observation by human senses of someone else’s behaviour, transmitted by closed circuit television (CCTV). It can be an intrusion into a person’s privacy. If the observation is recorded and can be repeatedly seen, heard and analysed, the human rights of the person observed are more likely to be affected. A public place is an area which can be accessed by the general public freely and indiscriminately. A private place is a place where the number of present is limited by law or by circumstances. The private sphere protected by the international human rights treaties – Art. 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and Art. 17 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), covers the intimate aspects of a human being’s personality and implies the right of everyone to be protected against unwarranted intrusion by government agencies, the media, or other institutions or individuals. Probably the most germane to the subject is the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in Peck v. United Kingdom. The Court found that the disclosure by the local authorities of the CCTV footage constituted a serious interference with the applicant’s right to respect for his private life. Surveillance in public places has therefore to be seen as the result of a restriction of the right to the respect for private life. Consequently it must conform to the requirements of Art. 8 para. 2 of ECHR or, according to the ensemble of CCPR, be shown to be “lawful” and not “arbitrary” and be legal, legitimate and socially necessary. Video surveillance in public places can serve some of the purposes enumerated in international treaties and can be necessary in a democratic society. It still has to be very clearly regulated by law as a restriction of the right to privacy, which should take account of the specific problems related to the protection of that right in public places.