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    Update on Camera Surveillance of Schoolchildren in United Kingdom

    In a follow up to two previous stories about the use of camera surveillance to watch over schoolchildren in the UK, the Daily Mail reports that the UK Information Commissioner’s Office has “warned that putting children and teachers under constant surveillance is ‘intrusive’ to privacy and a ‘disproportionate’ way to tackle classroom pranksters.”

    Now the ICO has warned schools against using the system for this purpose, questioning the use of ‘footage to find out who in the class has hidden something or talked behind the teacher’s back’.

    In its guidance the ICO said CCTV should be used only to ‘investigate a serious assault’ and could only be used in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

    It added: ‘Constant filming and sound recording is unlikely to be acceptable unless there is a pressing need – for example, if there is an ongoing problem of assaults or criminal damage.

    ‘One person’s prank is another person’s distressing incident. But constant CCTV monitoring of all children in a class cannot be justified with reference to the need to address classroom disruption.’ […]

    The firm argued that the system allowed teachers to look back on lessons but the ICO, which can fine organisations for data protection breaches, said: ‘Recording pupils all day long for this purpose is likely to be a disproportionate collection of personal data.’

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