Saying she had received a number of queries on the issue, personal data commissioner Irene Loizidou Nicolaidou on Tuesday issued clarifications about the use of CCTV in private properties and by apartment buildings’ management committees.

The commissioner first said that legislation related to personal data does not apply when CCTV is installed in private properties like homes and apartment buildings, as long as the footage is processed by individuals and concerns personal or household activities.

However, the scope of the recording should not go further than the perimeter of said private property, she added.

Apartment complex tenants can use CCTV as long as it does not interfere with the privacy of their neighbours, she said, adding that any complaints should be made to the police, as her office does not have the power to enter a private property to examine any footage.

In case the CCTV is installed by the building’s management committee, then it becomes responsible for monitoring, collecting and storing the personal data of the tenants for management purposes.

The commissioner stressed that the recording of sound and image constitutes collecting personal data and is only legal when done in accordance with the relevant legislation, and only allowed if there is no other, less intrusive way of achieving its purpose.

CCTV can be installed in building entrances and exits, outside lift doors, and over tills and payment points, as long as the camera is only pointed towards them.

Cameras can also be installed in building parking areas if the management committee deems it necessary.

At the same time, Nicolaidou gave some examples where CCTV is not allowed, which include toilets, corridors, lobbies, inside lifts, and indoor or outdoor areas of cafes, bars and restaurants.

“It must be noted that it is forbidden to use CCTV systems to monitor the behaviour, personal contacts and progress of individuals,” she said, adding that data must only be kept for a reasonable amount of time.

In addition, she said that signs notifying people that CCTV is in use are mandatory and should be unobstructed and easy to read.

Said signs should state that CCTV is in use, explain why, and include a contact number for an operator.

Finally, the commissioner said that a risk assessment might be necessary in cases where the use of CCTV puts the rights and liberties of individuals at risk.