Home > Surveillance > Installing Bugs and Cameras

Installing Bugs and Cameras

By: Robin Mizell - Updated: 7 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Surveillance Monitoring Data Protection

The use of audio and video surveillance devices is pervasive in the UK, despite laws intended to regulate their purpose and discourage indiscriminate use. Merely selling or possessing video or audio surveillance equipment is entirely legal. If you use the devices for the wrong reasons, however, you can quickly run afoul of the law.

Which law? The answer is complicated. Aspects of surveillance are covered by the:

  • Data Protection Act
  • Wireless Telegraphy Act
  • Human Rights Act
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
In a very broad sense, when using electronic monitoring devices, you’re obligated to balance your need to ensure the safety of persons with their right to privacy. Interpretation and application of the laws reflect the public’s ambivalence about the collection and use of their personal information. On one hand, overt surveillance devices have the potential to deter crime and give people a greater sense of security. On the other hand, cameras and bugs can be perceived as intrusive and unwarranted.

Critical issues to address before installing surveillance equipment are:

  1. Legitimate purpose for monitoring
  2. Use of least intrusive methods
  3. Proper display of regulation signage or issuance of verbal notification and consent
  4. Lawful purposes for information collected
  5. Security of information storage media
  6. Policies for limiting access to and policies for sharing collected data
  7. Data retention and destruction procedures
  8. Proper notifications and registrations
The Information Commissioner’s Office website offers detailed information intended to help people comply with the law when using surveillance schemes.

Privacy International, an organisation that advocates for the importance of privacy and data protection, asserts that personal data are frequently misused. The group believe there is particular danger when personal information is electronically transmitted between countries with differing privacy laws.

Installation and Quality Considerations

Installing electronic monitoring devices is becoming a do-it-yourself project for some. Maintaining the equipment is much more difficult than installing it. An easy-to-use instruction manual should be your foremost concern when shopping for the equipment. If you need special skills to retrieve, view, and copy digital recordings or data files, then it’s unlikely you’ll get your money’s worth from the scheme.

Users need to determine whether tampering is of concern in situations were more than one person has access to a surveillance device. Everyone who makes use of the equipment and its stored data must comply with the law. It can be necessary to consult a solicitor for guidance.

If a surveillance camera is meant to capture images of a person for later identification, the quality of the image is vital. Low-resolution images can’t be enlarged to provide clearer details, because the pictures simply become more blurry. Cameras mounted at the wrong angle may only give views of the tops of people’s heads. Taken at too great a distance from the subjects being monitored, audio and video recordings can be completely worthless. Superior video recordings are made with cameras operated remotely that can pan, zoom, and focus on suspicious activity. However, few businesses or individuals can afford such elaborate security measures.

Surveillance images without the accompanying audio recordings can omit half of the important evidence. For example, actions of a violent criminal caught on video have much less value without the simultaneous audio recording of the perpetrator’s verbal threats and abusive language. This is especially true when an assailant keeps a weapon hidden but threatens to harm someone with it.

An image or an audio recording can document an incident, but recordings often fail to lead directly to the identification of people shown or overheard engaging in antisocial behaviour. It can be frustrating to realise that merely documenting misbehaviour doesn’t always resolve it.

The trend toward omnipresent surveillance seems irreversible. Ensure the benefits outweigh the risks by carefully outlining your surveillance procedures and purposes and then notifying the authorities as required before implementation.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Sid
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I'd love to be part of something like this, I've always had a passion to be a spy and serve my people great kindness and trust. I'm dedicated and…
    21 July 2017
  • John Simon
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Is My Dream To Be An Agent, I Am Fearless, With A High Degree Of Wise, My Service And Loyalty To The Kingdom 100 per cent
    3 July 2017
  • Ghost
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I am not saying I am good,but at least give me a trial to participate in the screening phases...I know as a foreigner I have no chances but…
    19 June 2017
  • donato
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I really want Be secrect agent helping the country..be somebody in life
    12 May 2017
  • urboe
    Re: How to Join MI6
    thought I would be able to join unfortunately im a 21 year old Zimbabwean so im damned... loved this job ever since.
    11 May 2017
  • Izaak
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Recruit me, because i know what im doing AND CAN BE VERY SECRETIVE.
    4 May 2017
  • lans
    Re: How to Join MI6
    i am want so spy because this my ambition and so pleas help me for this
    30 April 2017
  • daniel
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I am 18 years old.I am dedicated and loyal.I will become an UK citizen next year.if given a chance I will makes a good recruit.
    1 April 2017
  • Anonymous
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I would like to join the M16 in the fairly distant future. right now I am just 14, and I'm pretty sure I have to be at least the age of 18 to join.…
    1 April 2017
  • Smith
    Re: How to Join MI6
    living like a no mad day to day origins N.I. takin most drugs and able to control the highs and lows, also no ties or anything or anyone to stop me…
    12 March 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the DIYSpy website. Please read our Disclaimer.