Video surveillance – What is allowed?

March 13, 2019

Not only companies, but also many private individuals want to keep track of their property or house with a camera. This is reflected in an increasing demand for surveillance cameras. But not everything that is technically possible is legally allowed. Our experienced team from Telsec ESS will be happy to advise you on the options available to you for video surveillance.

Anyone installing a surveillance camera feels safer. Cameras can help solve theft and other crimes. If the camera is clearly visible, it can also have a deterrent effect. These benefits for your own safety ensure that not only most companies, but also many private households rely on video surveillance. But those who are unfamiliar risks violating legal regulations with the installation of such a camera. At Telsec ESS, we’ll work with you to decide which solution is best for you – and of course, make sure it complies with the law.

What is legally allowed

People who want to have a camera are spoiled for choice. Do you want a swivel camera, a fixed device, a zoom function or not? What size and quality should the camera have? Should she be discreet and not to be seen – or conspicuous, to deter possible thieves or burglars? However, the theoretical possibilities are limited by the legal situation in Switzerland.

Not every concept private individuals or business people have surveillance that can be implemented without violating legal requirements. This restricted the installation of a video camera on a private or commercial property with comprehensive personal rights. In this case, in particular, this includes the right to one’s own image.

The provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act (DSG) apply – at least if people are also filmed. Other laws also apply on a case-by-case basis, such as Regulation 3 of the Labor Law, the Police Act and cantonal or municipal regulations. The legal foundations are varied and complex. If you violate it, you are liable to prosecution. When you choose a security solution from Telsec ESS, we make sure that the equipment complies with the law. Feel free to contact us for any questions. The effects of the aforementioned legislation will be explained in detail by our competent team from Telsec ESS Schweiz AG.

Which areas can be monitored?

If you want to install a video camera for surveillance, you must not just film every imaginable area. For example, private individuals are only allowed to monitor their own property. If you live in multiple dwellings, you may only film your private areas. On the other hand, it is not allowed to film public areas in addition to your own property. The ban also applies to surrounding private land, such as the land from the neighbor or from a neighboring company. The situation is different if the owner of the property also filmed it and gives his consent.

In particular, many entrepreneurs rely on video surveillance. They film business premises, storage rooms or sales areas. It is not allowed to film areas such as toilets and sanitary facilities. Even break rooms must not be monitored by video camera. This also applies to rooms in which employees sleep. These areas belong to the place where privacy of the persons concerned. This must not be violated.

Video equipment is also often used in schools. To protect the privacy of filmed students, teachers and others, it is recommended that the camera be aimed only at areas such as corridors or outside areas.

What needs to be considered with surveillance cameras?

According to the Police Act (PolG) owners are allowed to take pictures and sound recordings with a surveillance camera. This presupposes that this serves general security – for example, to prosecute or prevent crimes. However, the law also dictates that a video camera must be the last resort. If another measure, which attacks less personality rights, exists, this must be preferred. These include, for example, motion detectors of a burglar alarm system.

As a rule, the video camera must be clearly recognizable. Filmed people must be able to recognize that they are being recorded. This means, for example, that the camera is mounted clearly visible. A sign on the door of a restaurant or other facility will alert visitors to the surveillance. Consequently, they can decide for themselves whether they want to expose themselves or not. If you want to film your employees, you must also point this out to the monitoring.

What happens to the data?

Recordings made by a video camera must be protected against access by unauthorized persons, for example by means of a password. It is not allowed to keep the recorded data for a longer period of time. The data must be deleted immediately when they are no longer needed.
Our experienced team from Telsec ESS Schweiz AG advises you on what is allowed and what is not. Thanks to our great technical knowledge, we recommend a suitable security solution. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service.