Opinion on the Statutory Regulations governing / regarding the Installation and Operation of Video Surveillance Devices
January 19, 2012
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“JFBA”) issued an opinion paper, “Opinion on the Statutory Regulations governing / regarding the Installation and Operation of Video Surveillance Devices,” dated January 19, 2012, and presented it on February 8, 2012, to the Commissioner General of the National Police Agency.
Summary of the Opinion
Recently, the number of CCTV called “security cameras” (crime prevention cameras) is increasing in Japan. The increase of such security cameras, which continuously photograph, video-record and distribute images of a large number of unspecified persons at an accuracy sufficient to identify individuals irrespective of whether a crime has been committed or not, cannot be ignored from the perspective of the guarantee of privacy rights, etc.
Thus, we propose that certain legislation is enacted to provide for the following standards and criteria to regulate the installation and operation of such security cameras.
1. Standards concerning the Place of Installation
(1) Public Places
When installing security cameras in or facing towards public places where a large number of unspecified persons may freely pass through or stay, such as a road, park, etc., in relation to the place of installation, the following criteria shall be satisfied:
- (i) It shall be a place where crimes have been frequently committed or it is highly probable that crimes will be committed there in the future;
- (ii) It is expected that the installation of security cameras will have a definite effect in preventing crimes in relation to (i);
- (iii) There are no alternative means that are less detrimental to privacy rights, etc., than the installation of security cameras; and
- (iv) When a public authority is the installer, it must consult in advance with a third-party body independent from any public administrative agency; and when an entity other than a public authority is the installer, it must give notification to such third-party body after the installation.
(2) Facilities, Stores, etc.
When installing security cameras on the premises of a facility (including a station yard) or store, etc., through which a large number of unspecified persons may freely pass through, in relation to the place of installation, the following criteria shall be satisfied:
- (i) It shall be a place where the necessity for such security cameras is clearly recognized, such as that there is considerable probability of crimes or trouble occurring; and
- (ii) It is expected that the installation of security cameras will have a definite effect in preventing crimes or troubles in relation to (i)
(3) Condominiums, etc.
When installing security cameras in the communal areas of a housing complex such as a condominium, etc., in relation to the place of installation, the following criteria shall be satisfied:
- (i) It shall be a place where the necessity for such security cameras is clearly recognized, such as that there is a considerable risk of the occurrence of crimes or trouble occurring; and
- (ii) Such decision to install security cameras shall be made through certain processes stipulated by its management association, etc.
2. Standards concerning the Functions of the Apparatus Installed
Security cameras allowed to be installed in accordance with 1. above cannot be prohibited from having the following functions:
(1) The function to identify specific individuals through automatic cross-referencing with other databases of facial images, etc.; and
(2) The function to record sounds and voices at a place where the sounds and/or voices of a large number of unspecified persons may be collected.
3. Operational Standards Pertaining to the Installer
Installers shall comply with the following operational standards:
(1) Collection of Image Information
It shall be clearly indicated at the place of installation of a security camera that video-recording is performed, the purpose of such video-recording, as well as the installer’s name and contact information, etc.
(2) Use of Image Data and Provision to a Third Party
- (i) Image data shall not be used for any purpose other than for the purpose of installation. In particular, it must not be used for any secondary purpose, such as by using a device to identify specific individuals through automatic cross-referencing of highly personal identifiable facial images, etc., with other databases.
- (ii) Any image data no longer necessary for the purpose of installation shall be immediately deleted.
- (iii) No images other than those relating to a crime committed at the place of installation shall be provided discretionarily to the investigating authority without a warrant.
(3) Access Right of the Data Subject
The request by the data subject for disclosure shall be complied with.
4. Operational Standards for the Investigating Authority
With respect to images etc., captured by security cameras collected lawfully by the investigating authority as per 3-(2)-(iii) above, the following operational standards shall be applied to prevent any deviation from the core principles governing warrants and to guarantee the right to due process in criminal proceedings.
(1) Such images etc., shall not be collected, stored, used, or provided to a third party for any purpose (e.g., for the purposes of public order, public security, etc.) other than for use in the criminal proceedings of a crime that has actually been committed.
(2) When images are used as evidence in criminal proceedings, the investigating authority shall preserve all such images collected from the security camera in relation to the relevant crime until the completion of the criminal proceedings of the case and comply with any request by the defense counsel for disclosure of the same.
(3) The investigating authority shall promptly delete the images except for such images required to be preserved as per (2) above.
5. Supervisory Body
A third-party body independent from a public administrative agency shall be established to supervise whether security cameras are installed and operated according to the standards set by law, and authority shall be given to such body to conduct investigations and issue recommendations and correction orders, etc., to their installers.