Retailers breaking law by sharing CCTV footage of alleged shoplifters

Data protection curbs are frustrating crime prevention and facilitating shoplifters



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29 June 2016 | 0

The recently published Data Protection Commissioners Report for 2015 confirms it is illegal for retailers to share CCTV footage of alleged shoplifters. In light of this, RGDATA has called for the government to carry out an urgent review of the application of data protection law with regards to the use of CCTV for crime prevention purposes.

RGDATA director general Tara Buckley said the current law was alarming and creating a distinct legal imbalance between retailers and shoplifters.

Describing many shop owners as “effectively under siege from repeated thefts”, Buckley said the capacity for retailers within a town centre or shopping centre to share images of suspected shoplifters, including people who have been captured on CCTV shoplifting, was a key support for shopkeepers in protecting their businesses.

“If the law stands as it is retailers will be inhibited in their capacity to adequately defend their businesses,” she said. “Not only will they suffer the loss of stock if their shop is robbed, but they will also potentially face prosecution by the Data Protection Commissioner if they take measures to protect their businesses through the use of CCTV.”

RGDATA will seek a meeting with the Minister with responsibility for Data Protection, Dara Murphy, to see if there is national discretion to amend data protection law to facilitate the use of CCTV for crime prevention in retail premises.


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