It may seem that it is too complicated to understand the data protection law (GDPR) in the field of video surveillance, that it is easier to abandon the idea of installation, but this is not the case at all. DIR.LV has conducted a study of the state regulation of installation and use of surveillance cameras in Latvia and offers you a simple and clear understanding of this issue!

So, let's say you have thoughts about installing a video surveillance system.... Where do you start?

The first thing to understand is that every object in the Republic of Latvia, without exception, can be equipped with a video surveillance system. Just to install it you need to take into account some factors:

1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency: The processing of data through video surveillance systems must be lawful, fair and transparent for the data subjects. This means that people should be informed about the presence of CCTV.

There should be signs or stickers on the premises warning that video surveillance is taking place, or if you have a closed area that is off limits to outsiders, such as a work area, then an employee contract may state that their place of work is subject to video surveillance and the individual is aware of this.

2. Limitation of purposes: CCTV should only be used for legitimate purposes such as ensuring the safety of persons and property. The purpose of using video surveillance should be clearly defined and the data should not be used for other purposes.

The purpose of conducting surveillance with cameras should also be stated on an attached sign or sticker warning of video surveillance. You can simply write "Surveillance is for security purposes at ***) 

3. Data minimization: Only data that is actually needed to achieve the purpose of video surveillance should be collected. Video surveillance should not be used in areas where it may unduly interfere with people's privacy, such as locker rooms or restrooms.

4. Storage Limitation: The retention period of CCTV data should be limited to the minimum possible. There should be a time limit for deleting recordings if they are no longer needed for the purpose for which they were collected.

Data retention periods are not regulated in any particular way, you just need to determine what minimum retention period you need and tell the installer.

5. Data Protection Integration and Default Protection: Surveillance systems should be designed with privacy in mind and protect data at all stages of processing.

Basically, this point says that to ensure data security, you should use complex passwords and change them and not distribute them in the open.

6. Data security: Adequate security measures should be in place to protect video recordings from unauthorized access, loss or destruction.

There are several methods of storing data - on a server that is installed at the facility and on a cloud storage server. If we talk about storing data on site, it is recommended to limit unauthorized access to the server, it should be installed in a room that is not accessible to unauthorized persons, if you do not have such a room, it is recommended to install it in a server cabinet, which will be locked with a key.

7. Rights of Data Subjects: People caught in the lens of the CCTV camera have the right to access their data and can also request its correction or deletion in certain cases.

This means that every person caught on camera can ask you to delete the footage, unless of course they have done something illegal, in which case you will need to delete that piece of footage. From practice, we almost never receive such requests, but in order to make it technically possible to fulfill, we recommend using systems from brands such as Dahua, Hikvision and Uniview - these systems offer excellent software and capabilities to control the archive space.

8. Public Awareness: Video surveillance locations should have clearly posted signs indicating the presence of video surveillance, the purpose of the surveillance, and the contact information of the responsible person or organization.

Does the system need to be registered?

No, there is no requirement to register video surveillance systems with any state authority or authorized regulator like Datu Valsts Inspekcija (State Data Protection Inspectorate). 

What if there are many owners at a property and not all of them agree to the installation of a video surveillance system?

The Law on Apartment Ownership, which requires that decisions regarding the common property must be made by a general meeting of apartment owners. A decision is considered binding for all apartment owners if 50% plus one other apartment owner vote in favor of the decision, unless a different number of votes is required for the decision according to the law on apartment ownership.

These rules may be supplemented or amended, therefore, for up-to-date information and advice you should contact directly Datu Valsts Inspekcija or qualified lawyers specialized in data protection issues or professional installation organizations such as DIR.LV.