“Intelligent” videocameras for plants in isolated areas

The Privacy Authority has accepted the requests put forward by an industrial group in order to install an “intelligent” videosurveillance system presenting a movement recognition feature to protect five photovoltaic plants located in isolated areas. The applications for preliminary verification that were filed derive from the peculiar organizational and security needs of the production sites that are in wide areas far from inhabited centers and that generally do not require the presence of staff on the premises. For this reason, the companies that manage the plants have asked for permission to combine the ordinary video surveillance system, furnished with fixed and “speed-dome” videocameras (pan-tilt cameras with zoom), with a “motion control” function capable of detecting automatically eventual movements inside the area taken and of alerting immediately the control staff. The new functionalities would allow companies to guarantee the security of the facilities in view of eventual intrusions and damages, as well as to monitor constantly the correct functioning of the plants so as to request the intervention of operators on the premises just in case of anomalous events. The Authority has recognized the specific needs of the group and has authorized the activation of the new technologies with the obligation, however, to adopt adequate privacy protection. Videocameras shall be appropriately signaled and shall frame only the internal areas of the plant and the area immediately next to the enclosure. The access via the Internet to the images stored in the computers of the plants shall be possible only through protected connections (with VPN) and encrypted transmissions. Such data, further, shall be consulted only by staff specifically appointed and having individual access accounts. Last, the Guarantor has underlined that, since videocameras could take the activity of staff sent to operate on the premises, the companies involved shall anyway operate in compliance with the workers’ Statute. Before starting the videosurveillance activity, the companies shall wait for the specific permission already asked to the competent Provincial Employment Departments. In any case, the takes shall be used only for purposes related with the protection of the company’s assets and not for the control of workers from remote or for other unforeseen purposes. (from Newsletter of the Italian Data Protection Authority no. 374 of 28.06.2013)