ICO warns schools of ‘high bar to clear’ over body cameras for teachers
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned schools that they must carry out privacy impact assessments if they are considering fitting their teachers with body cameras.
The ICO’s warning comes in response to reports this week that at least two comprehensive schools in England have sought and gained approval for their teachers to wear body cameras. The approval has been given by their local education authorities, enabling the teachers to obtain proof of misbehaviour by unruly pupils.
An ICO spokesperson said: “Recording images of any identifiable individuals needs to be done in line with the Data Protection Act and particular care needs to be taken when this may involve children. Any organisation considering using body worn video cameras must justify their use and consider whether or not it is proportionate, necessary and addresses a pressing need not addressed by other measures. This is a very high bar to clear.”
Addressing the particular position of educational establishments, the ICO added: “We recommend that schools undertake a privacy impact assessment to demonstrate that these criteria are met. In the event that a school decides that matters can only be addressed by using body worn video cameras, they must make sure that any images are only used for that specific purpose and that staff, pupils and visitors are aware they may be recorded and that appropriate measures are in place to keep the recorded images secure.”