Video monitoring and CCTV are not specifically regulated by Polish law. Currently, the processing of images and other data collected by cameras is subject to the general provisions of the data processing act. In many cases its provisions are difficult to apply to video monitoring activities. For instance, CCTV administrators are often challenged with providing lengthy information notices to monitored persons. In response to these issues, on 10th July 2014, the Ministry of Internal Affairs published new guidelines for the draft of the Act on Video Monitoring. The aim of the new statute is to provide safeguards for the privacy and freedom of persons who may be subject to surveillance, set the rules for the installation and operation of video monitoring systems and the conditions of access to the taped images by the state authorities. The project provides separate rules for monitoring the following areas: open spaces (streets, parks, city squares), closed areas (shops, schools, workplaces) and private areas (areas used by the owner only for private purposes). Monitoring in public areas is subject to most stringent controls and may be conducted only by the public authorities or on their behalf. The introduction of such monitoring requires a resolution of the municipal council, preceded by public consultations. By contrast, monitoring in closed areas such as shopping centres or employee areas may also be conducted by private entities, provided that such entity is entitled to manage the area which will be monitored. Home monitoring for private purposes will not be regulated by the new law. Under the proposed provisions, each person will have the right to be informed about being under surveillance. The statute is to specify the required signage and the manner of its presentation. The recordings may be stored for a limited time only, usually for a period of up to 90 days. Also, the proposed law will implement a ban on monitoring systems which combine image and sound recording. Finally, systems which incorporate automatic recognition function will be subject to additional obligations. If passed into law, the project will introduce the brand new position of administrator of monitoring systems, who will be obligated to oversee compliance with the law. Enforcement of the provisions of the new law is to be entrusted to the Polish data protection authority.
Magdalena Kogut-Czarkowska is a counsel in the IP/IT department of Baker McKenzie Warsaw. She is seasoned in personal data protection and intellectual property law, focusing on e-commerce and consumer protection issues. Ms. Kogut-Czarkowska is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/E). Between 2011 and 2012, she went on a 12-month part-time secondment in a high-profile global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, where she handled IT and privacy matters.