<videovortex> CCTV Vortex

David garcia davidg at xs4all.nl
Tue Apr 24 10:25:51 CEST 2007

Manu Luksch
  posted an announcement of her movie drawn from CCTV footage on  
nettime (below)
she is the tip of the iceberg. This week at Enter Unknown territories
Graham Harwood will also show stuff done by Media Shed with CCTV in  
shops based on a hack
which means that you can pull the stuff directly off the camera edit  
and present back to the shop keeper.
There is more  out there. Real Time Surveilance appropriated has an  
interesting history going back a decade.



	From: 	  manu at ambienttv.net
	Date: 	23 April 2007 21:58:00 GMT+00:00
	To: 	  nettime-l at bbs.thing.net
	Reply-To: 	  manu at ambienttv.net

Soon my sci fi movie 'FACELESS' -made from authentic cctv recordings-  
be released; at this occasion I'd like to post its manifesto below ,

opportunistic infections of the surveillance apparatus

Filmmakers render aspects of nature, human activity and imagination  
The documentary film continues to be a potent form in all its  
variety, from
the personal video diary to "objective" fly-on-the-wall shoots, to the
hybrid fact/fiction ("faction") film. But the most prolific  
are no longer to be found in film schools and TV stations. In some  
and American cities, every street corner is under constant surveillance
using recording closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras. Such cameras are  
operated by local government, police, private security firms, large
corporations and small businesses, and private individuals, and may be
automatic or controlled (zoomed and panned) from a remote control room.
Filmmakers, and in particular documentarists of all flavours, should  
on this constant gaze. Why bring in additional cameras, when much  
and public urban space is already covered from numerous angles?

MANIFESTO FOR CCTV FILMMAKERS declares a set of rules, establishes  
procedures, and identifies further issues for filmmakers using pre- 
CCTV (surveillance) systems as a medium in the UK. The manifesto is
constructed with reference to the Data Protection Act 1988 and related
privacy legislation that gives the subjects of data records  
(including CCTV
footage) access to copies of the data. The filmmaker's standard  
equipment is
thus redundant; indeed, its use is prohibited. The manifesto can  
easily be
adapted for different jurisdictions.



The filmmaker is not permitted to introduce any cameras or lighting  
into the


A protagonist ("data subject") is required to feature in all sequences.
Data Protection Act 1998; 1998 Chapter 29; Part II Section 7(1). **
[A]n individual is entitled
(a) to be informed by any data controller whether personal data of which
that individual is the data subject are being processed by or on  
behalf of
that data controller,
(b) if that is the case, to be given by the data controller a  
description of
     (i) the personal data of which that individual is the data subject,
     (ii) the purposes for which they are being or are to be  
processed, and
     (iii) the recipients or classes of recipients to whom they are  
or may be
(c) to have communicated to him in an intelligible form
     (i) the information constituting any personal data of which that
individual is the data subject, and
     (ii) any information available to the data controller as to the  
of those data, and
(d) where the processing by automatic means of personal data of which  
individual is the data subject for the purpose of evaluating matters
relating to him such as, for example, his performance at work, his
creditworthiness, his reliability or his conduct, has constituted or is
likely to constitute the sole basis for any decision significantly  
him, to be informed by the data controller of the logic involved in that

The documented activity of the protagonist must qualify as personal or
sensitive data. The filmmaker is to establish this by locating a
surveillance camera and circumscribing the field of action for the  
relative to it, so that incidents of biographical relevance (i.e. that
reveal personal data) occur in the frame.
ICO CCTV systems and the Data Protection Act JB v.5 01/02/04 (***)
2. The court decided that for information to relate to an individual  
(and be
covered by the DPA) it had to affect their privacy. To help judge  
this, the
Court decided that two matters were important: that a person had to  
be the
focus of information, the information tells you something significant  

The provisions of the 1998 Act are based on the requirements of a  
Directive, which at, Article 2, defines, personal data as follows:
³Personal data² shall mean any information relating to an identified or
identifiable natural person; an identifiable person is one who can be
identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an
identification number or to one or more factors specific to his  
physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.
The definition of personal data is not therefore limited to  
where a data controller can attribute a name to a particular image. If
images of distinguishable individuals¹ features are processed and an
individual can be identified from these images, they will amount to  

All people other than the protagonist ("third parties") will be rendered
unidentifiable on the data obtained from the CCTV operators. Typically,
operators blur or mask out faces of third parties. The filmmaker is to
consider the visual impact of this manipulation, and to establish a  
rule for
the handling of footage delivered with ineffectual masking or  
blurring  for
example, reporting the offence.
Right to Privacy in Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (****):
1. Everyone has the right to respect for private and family life, his  
and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the  
exercise of
this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary  
in a
democratic society in the interests of national security, public  
safety or
the economic well being of the country, for the prevention of  
disorder or
crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection  
of the
rights or freedoms of others.

4. On the other hand, the disclosure of third party information in
compliance with a subject access request may also expose the data  
to complaint or action by the third party, for example [...] for  
breach of
6. The data controller should consider to what extent it is possible to
communicate the information sought without disclosing any third party
information [...] This might be achieved by editing the information to
remove names or other identifying details.


The filmmaker is to choose sites that are covered by multiple  
cameras, preferably operated by a large business, private security  
firm or
public authority  or, if operated by a small retailer, cameras of the  
that can be panned and zoomed remotely. Sites may be mobile  for  
example, a
public bus.
ICO CCTV systems and the Data Protection Act JB v.5 01/02/04
If you have just a basic CCTV system your use may no longer be  
covered by
the DPA. [...] Small retailers would not be covered who
­ only have a couple of cameras,
­ can't move them remotely,
­ just record on video tape whatever the camera picks up,
­ only give the recorded images to the police to investigate an  
incident in
their shop.

For every camera used, the operator's name and contact details are to be
Code of practice issued by the Data Protection Commissioner, under  
51(3)(b) of the Data Protection Act 1998, 07/2000 (*****)
7. Signs should be placed so that the public are aware that they are
entering a zone which is covered by surveillance equipment.
The signs should contain the following information:
Identity of the person or organisation responsible for the scheme.
The purposes of the scheme.
Details of whom to contact regarding the scheme.
(First Data Protection Principle).


After completing each shoot, the filmmaker is to address a written  
("subject access request letter") to the CCTV operator ("data  
immediately to ensure that the data recovery process can be initiated  
the recordings are still archived. (Mandatory retention periods vary.)
Code of practice issued by the Data Protection Commissioner, under  
51(3)(b) of the Data Protection Act 1998, 07/2000
1. Once the retention period has expired, the images should be  
removed or
erased (Fifth Data Protection Principle).

The subject access request letter is to state the place and time of the
recording and include a picture of the protagonist, wearing the same  
if possible, and a cheque for £10 (the maximum fee chargeable). Letters
should be sent by a secure system which provides evidence of  
delivery. (Some
data controllers may require the notarisation of the letter to legally
establish identity.)
Data Protection Act 1998; 1998 Chapter 29, Part II Section 7(2)
A data controller is not obliged to supply any information under  
(1) unless he has received
(a) a request in writing, and
(b) except in prescribed cases, such fee (not exceeding the prescribed
maximum) as he may require.

The filmmaker is to allow a maximum 40 days after sending the data  
for an initial response.
Code of practice issued by the Data Protection Commissioner, under  
51(3)(b) of the Data Protection Act  1998, 07/2000
A data controller must comply with a subject access request promptly,  
and in
any event within forty days of receipt of the request or, if later,  
forty days of receipt of:
the information required (i.e. to satisfy himself as to the identity  
of the
person making the request and to locate the information which that  
seeks); and the fee.

The filmmaker is to establish a set of rules for handling the various
formats in which the data may be sent (video tape, DVD-video, digital  
encoded with proprietary codecs, hard copies of frames).


CCTV systems are not permitted record sound. The filmmaker is to  
establish a
set of rules for the soundtrack (if any) of the movie  for example,
prohibiting field recordings.


Footage received is subject to complex copyright issues. The  
filmmaker is to
take legal advice and establish a strategy.


(*) In addition to the boom in surveillance, the proliferation of  
mobile cameras (many built into phones and other handheld devices)  
has led
to the phenomenon of "sous-veillance" activities carried out by the
population at large. News services now actively solicit amateur  
from camcorders and even mobile phones, often combining them with CCTV
footage where they have access to it, when reporting from scenes of  
accidents or natural disasters. The manifesto can be extended to  
provide a
framework for films that work with acts of sous-veillance.

(**) Data Protection Act 1998 Chapter 29

(***) CCTV systems and the Data Protection Act JB v.5

(****) Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (CCTV and the Human Rights

(*****) CCTV Guidance and the Data Protection Act - Good Practice Note


___________________manu Luksch______________/
_ mobile: (+44) 780 7474 378  __ (+43) 650 9977 988
skype: manulita  __ http://www.ambientTV.NET _____/

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