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General Chat Thread, Legal issues of using a covert camera to record in classroom in General; Help!!!!! Found this memo this morning: "***** was mulling over the idea of being able to set up recording equipment ...
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    DocHouse's Avatar
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    Legal issues of using a covert camera to record in classroom

    Help!!!!!

    Found this memo this morning:
    "***** was mulling over the idea of being able to set up recording equipment in a class room to monitor children's behaviour - but doing it in a stealth-like fashion. Is that something we have a facility to do?"
    The Head

    Apart from obvious ethical and moral issues, what legal issues would we encounter, we do have CCTV in place but only externally.



    Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

    Thanks
    John

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    basicchannel's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about legal issues, but my old school did this all the time. We had a wireless IP cam with a little mount that was easy to hide. It was perfect for poorly laid out classrooms, where the little gits would wreck PCs without the teacher knowing.

    I personally have no moral qualms about this, and our teachers didn't seem to mind (although we did see some classic examples of crap teaching).

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I think you have to put signs up to say your recording.

    But if you put them up everywhere people will eventually take no notice and then you should be ok.

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    Steve21's Avatar
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    Not ensuring anything legally, but from my understanding it comes down to what is written in policies etc, not sure you can just suddenly do it without making people aware etc. But if you had a generic policy stating it "may" be done in future etc, but as I said not sure legally tbh.

    Steve

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    The main law you are going to butt up against will be the Data Protection Act. A CCTV image of a person is personal data. Take a look through the ICO CCTV Code of practive found here: CCTV - Guide for Organisations - ICO

    It deals with monitoring of employees, rather than addressing pupils, but in general, continuous use of covert cameras is frowned upon:

    Continuous monitoring should only be used in very exceptional circumstances, for example where hazardous substances are used and failure to follow procedures would pose a serious risk to life.
    I would strongly advise as a bare minimum that staff are aware of where cameras are sited. If you don't tell the staff, you are practically inviting a union dispute. If there is any union recognition in the school, taking advice from them is highly recommended. ATL has some guidance here which includes a quite detailed discussion of the benefits and drawbacks, as well as stating the union position that "ATL considers it unacceptable for any school, of its own accord, to engage in covert surveillance of any type." As always, do consider the source of any guidance you read; I believe ATL's opinion to be balanced, but in the interests of disclosure I am an ATL member and have served on an ATL task group in the past.
    Last edited by AngryTechnician; 9th March 2012 at 09:49 AM.

  6. Thanks to AngryTechnician from:

    DocHouse (9th March 2012)

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    rich_tech's Avatar
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    Guidelines are here - CCTV - Guide for Organisations - ICO - lol beaten to them I see by @AngryTechnician.

    There also may be internal rules / further issues coming from your SMT/LEA relating to the filming especially where it is children involved, I would say investigate all that thoroughly with them first.

    We operate 4 IP cameras here on 2 IT Suites and a common room and have a smaller external camera system for building security, which are there to prevent damage to the machines and equipment, all staff are aware of the cameras and the pupils can see them also, their no secret here.

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    DocHouse's Avatar
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    thanks we've got 19 ip cameras 18 external and 1 internal staff know where they are and that's all fine and legal.

    My concern is the legality of having a covert camera that potentially is uknown about by kids/staff and the potential for angry backlash from parents/press/staff.

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridpool_John View Post
    My concern is the legality of having a covert camera that potentially is uknown about by kids/staff and the potential for angry backlash from parents/press/staff.

    Don't hide it and tell them they're being recorded.

    Follow the logic of recorded phone converations. [By continuing with the conversation you give permission for them to record it... Your only option is to hang up if you don't agree.]

    My opinion is that pupils don't need to be told. Staff yes, parents yes, pupils no. [What better way to catch them in the act?]

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    We have a load of cameras on site and no "legal" issues have risen, staff might be grumpy as a result of their so called "domain" being recorded and students are easily spotted damaging equipment I mean.. using them well.

    I have been pushing for a camera in a class room for a while, we tried it once and it can take up a load of space if you want top quality recordings but... I still want this back

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    [What better way to catch them in the act?]
    Or, conversely, what better way to prevent "the act" happenning in the first place?

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    Galway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridpool_John View Post
    thanks we've got 19 ip cameras 18 external and 1 internal staff know where they are and that's all fine and legal.

    My concern is the legality of having a covert camera that potentially is uknown about by kids/staff and the potential for angry backlash from parents/press/staff.
    Who cares ? The head has asked the question if it can be done. If you want to cover yourself first reply to his questions than state reason(s) X of your concerns ..... he is the head after all.

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    DocHouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galway View Post
    Who cares ? The head has asked the question if it can be done. If you want to cover yourself first reply to his questions than state reason(s) X of your concerns ..... he is the head after all.
    I care if it the flack get fired at me... ;-)

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    Galway's Avatar
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    You worry too much .... the head gets paid allot of money to worry about such things.

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    DocHouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galway View Post
    You worry too much .... the head gets paid allot of money to worry about such things.
    True... but I'd rather play it safe

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