All this is regulated in different regulations, which are quite complex, the most important in Spain being the Organic Law 3/2018, of December 5, on Personal Data Protection and guarantee of digital rights.
First of all, it must be understood what personal data is, which we can define as any information that, collected, can lead to the identification of a specific person, is personal data.
And this regardless of the technology used to obtain, process or store a data, since the regulation is technologically neutral; this implies that whether it is through a computer procedure, a video surveillance system or on paper, we are always under data protection regulations.
So, if I have a business, can I install one or more security cameras?
The answer is yes, but with certain limitations.
The first limitation is the purpose; a security camera can only be installed if the purpose is to preserve the security of persons and property, as well as the premises.
This first limitation must also be interpreted in conjunction with other rights, especially the right to privacy of persons and workers. In this sense, the law expressly prohibits the installation of video surveillance systems in places intended for workers' rest, such as changing rooms, toilets or canteens. And although it does not say anything specific in the case of customers, it should be understood that, for the protection of the privacy of individuals, cameras are prohibited in areas such as fitting rooms or toilets in stores, as they would seriously affect the right to privacy of individuals.
The Law also prohibits the taking of images of the public highway, unless they are necessary for the purpose of surveillance.
Do I have to warn of the existence of cameras in my business?
Yes, absolutely. It is mandatory to place an informative sign, warning of the existence of video surveillance systems, informing of the identity of the company that processes the data and of the rights of the affected persons.
It is recommended that, in the case of larger stores, there should be several signs, to ensure that customers have been properly informed.
How long can I store the recordings?
At the most, the recordings can be kept for a period of one month, except for those that should be kept to prove the commission of a crime.
In the case of images used to report crimes, they will be handed over to the corresponding body (State or Regional Security Forces and Corps or Courts and Tribunals), and will not be put to any other use.
Where should the tracking monitors be located?
It is important to note that access to the images must be restricted exclusively to the person responsible for the system, doing everything necessary to ensure that they are not accessible to other persons.
Is the regulation the same for video surveillance systems with and without recording?
The provisions of the analyzed regulation apply regardless of whether the images are recorded or not. Therefore, in the case of real-time video surveillance systems, the same limitations apply as seen so far.
We can therefore conclude that the installation of cameras is possible, only for surveillance purposes, and always respecting the right to privacy, informing the persons to be recorded, preventing persons other than the person in charge from viewing the images and, in case of recording, deleting them after the maximum period of time has elapsed.