Guidelines 03/2019 on processing of personal data through video devices
Paragraph 3.1.1 Existence of legitimate interests
18. Video surveillance is lawful if it is necessary in order to meet the purpose of a legitimate interest pursued by a controller or a third party, unless such interests are overridden by the data subject’s interests or fundamental rights and freedoms (Article 6 (1) (f)). Legitimate interests pursued by a controller or a third party can be legal, economic or non-material interests. However, the controller should consider that if the data subject objects to the surveillance in accordance with Article 21 the controller can only proceed with the video surveillance of that data subject if it is a compelling legitimate interest which overrides the interests, rights and freedoms of the data subject or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
19. Given a real and hazardous situation, the purpose to protect property against burglary, theft or vandalism can constitute a legitimate interest for video surveillance.
20. The legitimate interest needs to be of real existence and has to be a present issue (i.e. it must not be fictional or speculative). A real-life situation of distress needs to be at hand –such as damages or serious incidents in the past – before starting the surveillance. In light of the principle of accountability, controllers would be well advised to document relevant incidents (date, manner, financial loss) and related criminal charges. Those documented incidents can be a strong evidence for the existence of a legitimate interest. The existence of a legitimate interest as well as the necessity of the monitoring should be reassessed in periodic intervals (e. g. once a year, depending on the circumstances).
21 Example: A shop owner wants to open a new shop and wants to install a video surveillance system to prevent vandalism. He can show, by presenting statistics, that there is a high expectation of vandalism in the near neighbourhood. Also, experience from neighbouring shops is useful. It is not necessary that a damage to the controller in question must have occurred. As long as damages in the neighbourhood suggest a danger or similar, and thus can be an indication of a legitimate interest. It is however not sufficient to present national or general crime statistic without analysing the area in question or the dangers for this specific shop.
22. Imminent danger situations may constitute a legitimate interest, such as banks or shops selling precious goods (e.g. jewellers), or areas that are known to be typical crime scenes for property offences (e.g. petrol stations).
23. The GDPR also clearly states that public authorities cannot rely their processing on the grounds of legitimate interest, as long as they are carrying out their tasks, Article 6(1) sentence 2.