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Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Bus company used CCTV video 'unfairly' to catch driver using mobile phone

The airport bus operator was found to have obtained the footage improperly.
Jun 22nd 2016, 6:03 AM 25,074 33

AIRPORT BUS OPERATOR Aircoach was found to have “unfairly obtained” CCTV footage of a driver which allegedly showed them using a mobile phone while driving.

The details of the complaint are detailed in the 2015 annual report of the Data Protection Commissioner, published yesterday.

The incident dates back to February 2014. Aircoach staff were reviewing CCTV footage from a bus as part of an investigation into an unrelated customer complaint when the driver was spotted on camera allegedly using their phone while driving.

Aircoach initiated disciplinary proceedings against the driver. She objected, claiming that the footage had been unfairly obtained.

Although the Data Protection Commissioner conceded that the alleged actions of the driver constituted “a very serious matter”, Aircoach was found to have breached data protection legislation by not properly informing drivers that the footage may be used in disciplinary proceedings.

“The investigation in this case established that, at the time of the relevant incident on 19 February 2014, the roll-out of CCTV signage by Aircoach had commenced; however, the company failed to properly or fully inform staff that CCTV footage might be used in disciplinary proceeding,” the report details.

“Any monitoring of employee behaviour through the use of CCTV cameras should take place in exceptional cases rather than as a norm and must be a proportionate response by an employer to the risk faced, taking into account the legitimate privacy and other interests of workers.”

In this case, when processing the complainant’s image, Aircoach was not aware of any particular risk presented and, by its own admission, was investigating an unrelated matter.

The report goes on to emphasise that while the use of CCTV footage in this instance was found to be improper, in other cases it would be justified “especially… in response to an urgent situation and the employer has the correct procedures in place.”

The annual report found there was a rise in the number of reported data breaches last year. Of the 2,376 received, just 59 were found to be not valid.

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Another incident outlined was the loss of a former army officer’s notes on an official incident “following flooding and a burglary at that location when the (officer) was on an overseas mission”.

The Data Protection Commissioner said that the Defence Forces “unequivocally acknowledged that the loss of the data in this case should not have occurred and was fully regretted”.

The commissioner added that the Defence Forces “informed us that it had recently undertaken a full review of practices and procedures in respect of both the processing and disclosure of data to mitigate the possibility of any future unauthorised or accidental disclosure of personal data”.

Read: The Defence Forces will review its data protection rules after an officer lost crucial notes >

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Nicky Ryan

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