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The video surveillance

In the process of dynamic technological development the role of the video surveillance in our everyday life strengthens even more due to its broad public availability and applicability. Quite recently video surveillance systems were priority for special sites, bank offices, and large enterprises, but today they are used to guard schools, residential complexes, hospitals, hotels, offices, stores, etc. With respect to the massive penetration of video surveillance in all spheres of life the topic on the protection of individual privacy and private life becomes even more recent. Our goal is: To raise citizens` awareness of exercising their rights in performing video surveillance.

Question: Do video records as means of surveillance represent a personal data?

Answer: Yes. Video records as means of surveillance contain "personal data" since you can be identified by them in an indisputable way.

Question: Is Video Surveillance "personal data processing"?

Answer: Yes. Video Surveillance represents an action on personal data processing as there is a recording by technical means for video surveillance.

Question: Who has the right to carry out video surveillance?

Answer: Right to carry out video surveillance have:
   1. Merchants or legal persons, and their self-defense units which are licensed for providing private security services.
   2. State institutions which are required to carry out surveillance for the implementation of their functions.
   3. In all other cases video surveillance can be carried out only in the presence of a regulatory basis or with your express consent.

Question: Do I have the right to be notified by the Controller of the video surveillance carried out?

Answer: Yes. Citizens should be notified of the use of technical means for video surveillance and monitoring of the site by information boards placed at an easily visible place without specifying their location. In the event that they have not objected to the Controller for the processing of their personal data, thus, it shall be assumed they have provided their consent within the meaning of the Personal Data Protection Act for processing their personal data by technical means by using technical means for video surveillance.

Question: Do employers have the right to carry out video surveillance at the workplace of workers/employees who are in employment relationships?

Answer: When purpose of the video surveillance is monitoring the work process and observing the working time, the Controller may record a video by means of surveillance of its workers/employees only if a regulatory ground exists or upon given express consent of the persons subject to video surveillance (for example by a clause in the employment contract).

Question: Do I have the right to object against video surveillance carried out toward me?

Answer: Yes. You have the right to object to the Controller that you do not want to be recorded by a video surveillance camera, provided that the Controller does not prove the existence of a legal ground for that specific case.

Question: Do I have the right to access video records related to me and recorded with video surveillance cameras?

Answer: Yes. Any natural person has the right to access relevant personal data (incl. video records). In cases, where while performing the right to access personal data of a third person are disclosed to the physical person, the Controller shall be obliged to provide that data only in the part related to the respective person. To this end, the Controller should take the appropriate technical measures for deleting/masking the faces of other persons subject to video surveillance. In the absence of such a technical possibility access to video records may be provided only with the consent of all persons subject to video surveillance.

Question: How can I protect myself in cases when my own real estate is subject to video surveillance through cameras located in a neighbouring property for security purposes?

Answer: Actions of persons related to video recording for security purposes are regulated by the Private Security Industry Act as control of activities under that Act is assigned to the Security Police Directorate General and the regional directorates of the Ministry of Interior. You can always refer to these units of the Ministry of Interior.

Question: How can I protect myself in cases when I`m subject to surveillance for which my consent has not been asked?

1. You could submit your complaint to the Commission for Personal Data Protection within the period of one year of becoming aware of the offense, but not more than five years of its occurrence.
2. To appeal the actions of the Personal Data Controller before the relevant administrative court or before the Supreme Administrative Court under the general rules of jurisdiction.

Commission for Personal Data Protection, Sofia, 2 Prof. Tsvetan Lazarov Blvd.
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