Surveillance Cameras and Privacy at Work

In Antovic and Mirkovic v Montenegro the European Court of Human Rights held that video surveillance of lecture halls violated a professor’s right to privacy.

In this case the Dean of the School of Mathematics at Montenegro University installed video surveillance within a public lecture theatre in order to “protect safety of property, people and students”.  The system also recorded any lectures that took place within the theatre.  The data recorded by the surveillance system was code protected, could only be accessed by the Dean and was kept for 1 year.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to respect for private and family life.  The Personal Data Protection Agency ordered for the cameras to be removed as there was no evidence that safety was a problem and so there were no legitimate grounds for needing to record such data.  Ms Antovic and Mr Mirkovic brought compensation claims but Domestic courts found that Article 8 had not been violated.

However, the European Court did find that Article 8 had in fact been breached as, even though the University is a public venue, the right to a private life also includes their business and professional activities.

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