European Data Protection Supervisor
European Data Protection Supervisor

Video-surveillance: Helping EU institutions and bodies to get the message across

Video-surveillance: Helping EU institutions and bodies to get the message across


Video-surveillance: Helping EU institutions and bodies to get the message across

Today, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued his report on the findings of some on-the-spot inspections conducted between 15 June and 18 July 2012 on the premises of thirteen Brussels-based EU institutions and bodies. These thematic inspections were one of the measures announced in the Follow-up Report of February 2012, outlining the status of compliance of EU institutions and bodies with the 2010 EDPS Video-surveillance Guidelines (EDPS/05/12).

The report, which is not published, contains recommendations for the 13 bodies on how to improve the way in which information about video-surveillance is provided to the general public including:

  • the existence, location and content of selected on-the-spot notices highlighting  that the area is under surveillance;
  • the availability and the content of a data protection notice at the reception or via security personnel and
  • the availability and the content of an online policy.

The 13 institutions and bodies inspected were the Artemis Joint Undertaking, the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking, the Committee of the Regions, the Council of the European Union, the ENIAC Joint Undertaking, the European Anti-Fraud Office, the European Commission, the European Defence Agency, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European External Action Service, European Parliament; the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and the Innovative Medicines Initiative.

Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant EDPS, says: "EU institutions and bodies need to comply and demonstrate their compliance with the Guidelines in the interests of transparency, accountability and good administration. As a supervisory authority, the EDPS will continue to closely monitor and follow-up video-surveillance compliance by EU institutions and bodies".

  • With one exception, the EDPS is pleased that on-the-spot notices are available at all the institutions and bodies inspected. The EDPS noted, however, that there is significant room for improvement in the content of these notices, as only one on-the-spot notice actually provided all the information foreseen by the Guidelines for those captured on CCTV.
  • The EDPS is reasonably satisfied that, with the exception of two institutions and bodies, all others will provide a data protection notice if requested. Regrettably, the content of the notices fail to meet EDPS expectations and are not in line with the express requirements of the Guidelines which outline user-friendly language, format and content.

The EDPS is delighted that the Council, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee have made a public version of their video-surveillance policy available online but is disappointed that other bodies under the same obligation have so far not done so.

Background information

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is an independent supervisory authority devoted to protecting personal data and privacy and promoting good practice in the EU institutions and bodies. He does so by:

  • monitoring the EU administration's processing of personal data;
  • advising on policies and legislation that affect privacy;
  • co-operating with similar authorities to ensure consistent data protection.