The Italian Almanac

surveillance cameras

Watchdog Rules

Italy's privacy watchdog sounded the alarm over the growing use of video surveillance, issuing a series of new regulations designed to protect the public. The rules reflect a number of decisions and legislative changes since 2004, the last time the authority updated its video surveillance directives. According to the watchdog, the main purpose of the rules is to deal with the sharp upsurge in video surveillance and CCTV camera use, now present in every aspect of daily life in Italy. Among the key points is a requirement for clear signposting at all areas under surveillance, with the exception of CCTV installed for public security purposes. Traffic cameras, used to record speeding, illegal parking and other traffic offences, must also be clearly flagged up and are restricted to capturing licence plates only.

The new regulations set strict limits on how long footage can be stored for. All film must be destroyed within 24 hours unless it is being used in a bank, in which case the deadline is seven days, or is required for investigative purposes. The watchdog also published a host of new limitations on the use of cameras in specific locations, including the workplace, hospitals, schools, public transport and taxis. There is a strict ban on the use of video surveillance in order to monitor employees, while schools may only film outside the building at night in order to prevent vandalism. Patient monitoring via remote camera is permitted in hospitals but only using cameras installed in specific rooms, rather than public areas, and the footage may only be viewed by authorized personnel and relatives.

The new rules will be costly for local councils, particularly in larger cities which make widespread use of video surveillance.