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01 Jul 2022

BREAKING: Limerick City and County Council fined over 'unlawful' use of CCTV

New grants for community CCTV funding in Kildare

The Data Protection Commission has published findings following a three-year investigation

THE Data Protection Commission (DPC) has fined Limerick City and County Council €110,000 after it identified multiple breaches of GDPR and data protection regulations relating to its use of CCTV cameras across the city and county.

The findings of a three-year-investigation into the use, monitoring and processing of footage from more 400 cameras has been published this Wednesday. 

The council, which has been formally reprimanded, was informed of the findings before Christmas and it was given an opportunity to respond before their publication today.

The local authority has been strongly criticised by the DPC which found that a large number of CCTV cameras, across the city and county, have been installed "without any legal basis" and that others are being used for a purpose other than for which they were installed.

Some of the cameras were first erected more than a decade ago.

The 100-page report found there were issues relating to the monitoring of the cameras, the storing and sharing of personal data and that the provision of a "live-feed" from 26 'traffic management' cameras to Henry Street garda station was unlawful.

The DPC has also found that, on occasion, members of An Garda Siochana were also given access to camera footage without supervision or proper records being retained.

On other occasions, the 'surveillance' of individuals was facilitated following informal verbal requests.

The council's use of drones was also found to have breached data protection regulations and it the DPC found it failed to carry out proper Data Protection Impact Assessments relating to the installation of cameras at several locations.

In a statement, published on its website, Limerick City and Council said it is "examining the decision in detail and reviewing its implications with a view to taking all necessary and corrective actions."

In addition to the fine, the DPC has ordered the council to take corrective action including the switching off of more than 200 cameras unless a legal basis for their continued use is identified.

The use of ANPR technology is to cease in 14 towns and villages and formal written agreements are to be put in place with An Garda Siochana regarding access to live or downloaded footage where appropriate.

Signage is to be erected in the city centre informing members of the public as to the precise location and the function of 26 cameras which are used primarily for traffic management.

The council has also been directed to update its website and to streamline the process regarding personal data requests.

"The Council is taking all appropriate steps mandated and analysing the recommendations made in the decision. The Decision by the Data Protection Commissioner is a lengthy and complex one and we are studying it carefully to ensure that we continue to protect the personal data of the people of Limerick," reads the statement published online.

We are working closely with the Data Protection Commissioner's office and An Garda Síochána to resolve the matters raised in the decision" it adds.

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