Fountain Square, Folkestone
On Oct 25 2017 we brought you a blog post entitled “Criminal?” In brief it stated that the Folkestone Harbour Company Ltd (FHCL) had not signed up to the register of data controllers and were committing a criminal offence on a daily basis; and had been doing so for quite some time.
The Company as far as the public and press are concerned who are responsible for the The Harbour Arm, The Seafront land, the bridge across the harbour and Fountain Square is FHCL. The controlling mind of the Group of companies, of which FHCL is one, and the sole ultimate shareholder is Sir Roger Michael de Haan(page 5)
The land known as Fountain square, Folkestone, (pictured below) was purchased by Folkestone Harbour Nominee (1) Limited and Folkestone Harbour Nominee (2) Limited on the 24.04.2007 according to the Land Registry.
The fountain became a working feature of the harbour area on 25 June 2011
Now CCTV was being processed on this site from or soon after 25 June 2011, and as locals will know all to well, Fountain Square is where children play in the Fountain while parents watch on. Therefore it was legally necessary for Folkestone Harbour Company Limited, or any other company within the group to be registered, on the register of data controllers, as it was using CCTV to process images.
Now under the old Data Protection Act 1998 – now superseded with the DPA 2018, and GDPR but inherently much the same – one of the principles of the DPA is to ensure that CCTV is operated fairly and lawfully. However, the fact that FHCL was not signed up could well mean, according to the ICO, the processing of images via the CCTV cameras at the Harbour Arm and Fountain Square was not lawful for the periods Aug 2015 – 15th Nov 2017 and 25 June 2011 – 15th Nov 2017, respectively. Furthermore, it would have been necessary to undertake a privacy impact assessment which should have looked at the pressing need that the surveillance system was intended to address and whether its proposed use had a lawful basis and was justified, necessary and proportionate.
The CCTV Code of practice states: There must be as much transparency in the use of a surveillance camera system as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints.
Now with regards to Fountain Square prior to the 16th Nov 2017 (When FHCL registered) there was no signage. Now according to Google Earth there was never any signage up until, on or after the 16th Nov 2017. (Image captured Aug 2016, sign on cabinet did not mention CCTV in use nor was there a published contact point for access to information and complaints. according to Google Earth images between June 25 2011 and 15th Nov 2017)
So we asked a representative of FHCL, Trevor “Ming the Merciless” Minter (pictured), Sir Roger’s right hand man
(2) The companies or land owner needed to comply with CCTV law as per the Data Protection Act 1998, how was it that this did not happen?
(The land also incorporated Fountain Square).His response was:
“In relation to CCTV in the areas, the relevant company is FHCL. It registered as a “data controller” on 16 November 2017 and appears on the Data Protection Register. Of course, FHCL seeks at all times to comply with its legal obligations. It applied to register as soon as it became aware of registration requirements contained in the Data Protection Act 1998.”
So FHCL did not become aware of its legal obligations for a period of six years and four months. That is astonishing. So for this period, images of children and adults were being processed and FHCL was not aware of its legal obligations, that is truly amazing.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It may seem artificial and unjust, but everyone is assumed to know the law that governs whatever they’re doing.
Moving on,we further asked Trevor “Ming the Merciless” Minter
Are you aware that under data protection the statute of limitations is six years?
His response was:
The short answer to your question is “yes”, generally speaking the limitation period for a data protection claim is 6 years.
As a mum I am deeply concerned that images of my children were processed without the company being signed up to the register. Why were they processing large quantities of images of children who predominately play in the fountain, for what purpose?
And Folkestone Harbour Arm, what about them, were they compliant?
No FHCL was not signed up for the Arm either. It is now. It did though have signage.
In the 21st Century, why would anyone process images of children without be legally compliant? Who saw these images, were they shared and will the company and/or a representative apologise?
With the support team, legal team and the money behind FHCL, not being compliant for six years and more is very concerning indeed, what else might they not be compliant with? And as Carol has said previously, why were they processing images of children when they were not compliant? It is unbelievable! Ignorance is no defence as the post rightly says.
So you are essentially saying that they broke the law. So what will be done about it? Nothing I suppose as per usual.
It is for individual to bring a case. There is a link to a No Win No Fee company who deal with these sorts of legal matters.
Whoever was responsible for this really ought to be given a very strong talking to. The points raised are very valid and the company really ought to make a public apology, especially as they processed images for such a length of time and were not – so it seems – compliant. Worrying indeed especially as images of children were processed.
Wow a no win no fee company, well I’ll be contacting them tomorrow that’s for sure, as my children played there all too often and looking back through old photo’s I can find no signage. With all that money behind the company, nobody thought to tick this box. WTF.
What a lame excuse from Trevor “Ming the Merciless” Minter”, defending the indefensible. Processing images of children and adults unlawfully on the fountain for over six years. Hmm.
Well done to the Shepwayvox Team for highlighting this. NOBODY is above the law and processing images of children for six year four months, when the CCTV system was not registered with the ICO in line with data protection legislation, well what can I say…
I note the following from the 12 guiding principles on Survellance & CCTv:
Principle 2: The use of a surveillance camera system must take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy, with regular reviews to ensure its use remains justified.
This principle points to the need for a privacy impact assessment process to be
undertaken whenever the development or review of a surveillance camera system is being
considered to ensure that the purpose of the system is and remains justifiable, there
is consultation with those most likely to be affected, and the impact on their privacy is assessed and any appropriate safeguards can be put in place. Where such an assessment follows a formal and documented process, such processes help to ensure that sound decisions are reached on implementation and on any necessary measures to safeguard
against disproportionate interference with privacy. This also demonstrates that both the
necessity and extent of any interference with Article 8 rights has been considered.
Was there ever a consultation undertaken? I am not aware of one and I live close to the Fountain.
Principle 3 – There must be as much transparency in the use of a surveillance
camera system as possible, including a published contact point for access to
information and complaints.
People in public places should normally be made aware whenever they are being monitored by a surveillance camera system, who is undertaking the activity and the purpose for which that information is to be used. This is an integral part of overt surveillance and is already a legal obligation under the 1998 Act. Furthermore, such awareness on the part of the public supports and informs the concept of surveillance by consent.
There were no signs at the Fountain stating Surveillance/CCTV was in operation, why not as it was a legal obligation under the 1998 Act, the relevant legislation at the time?
Nice work well done to the Shepwayvox Team for highlighting this spectacular failure.
CCTV is overwhelming a good thing and many crimes are solved (and people convicted) as a result of it being present in urban areas.
If there had been an incident at this location one of the first things people would have asked for is CCTV footage.
I think an apology from FHCL is warranted, perhaps alongside a gesture of goodwill, but wholesale condemnation is not.