Businesses could face fines for ignoring CCTV data protection law

A business owner has been prosecuted for failing to register with the ICO because she was using in-store CCTV.

Kavitha Karthikesu, pleaded guilty to the offence under section 17 of the Data Protection Act at Coventry Magistrates’ Court on 1 February. She was fined £200, ordered to pay £439.28 prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

The defendant was operating CCTV cameras as part of her business premises licence but said she didn’t realise this meant she had to register with the ICO. The annual fee for most businesses is £35.

Ms Karthikesu had not responded to repeated warning letters from the regulator telling her she was in breach of the Act. She told the court she thought the letters were spam and was unaware of the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Head of ICO Enforcement, Steve Eckersley said:

“The message here is simple, if you are a business operating CCTV cameras you must be registered with the ICO.

“Business owners need to be aware of their obligations when dealing with people’s personal data and this includes footage from CCTV cameras.

Being ignorant of the law and the regulator is no excuse; you could end up spending a day in court and receiving a fine,  as well as suffering reputational damage to your business. This could all be avoided with some due care and attention.”

The ICO’s CCTV Code of Practice gives guidance to companies using CCTV and business owners can also talk about any data protection issues with trained advisors by calling the ICO’s helpline on 0303 123 1113.


  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  1. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  1. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  1. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:

fairly and lawfully processed;

processed for limited purposes;

adequate, relevant and not excessive;

accurate and up to date;

not kept for longer than is necessary;

processed in line with your rights;

secure; and

not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.

  1. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.
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