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Source: Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Schools concerned about behaviour in their bathrooms have been calling the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) asking about their options for using CCTV.
Schools want to know if they can install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) networks in children and young people’s bathrooms to deter negative behaviour such as vaping and bullying.
Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster says, “bathrooms are highly sensitive zones for privacy and there’s some clear points that schools need to consider first.
These are,
– Schools need to be open with their communities about using CCTV and have clear signage and notices of it.
– They need to take care to focus cameras away from intimate activity (i.e., toileting and changing).
– Schools also need to be sure they’re not using audio to pick up conversations without additional privacy assessments done first.”
The Commissioner is keen to ensure that Boards of Trustees and principals know what they need to consider before using CCTV as an option.
– Remember that everyone, regardless of their age, has privacy rights.
– Be open with your school community, including staff and students, about what information you are collecting, from where, and why.
– Only collect what is needed for the lawful purpose it’s going to be used for. That lawful purpose must relate to the functions or activities of that school.
– Keep the information safe by understanding who will be viewing any footage captured, and limit that access to only those who need to see it.
– Know how long you’ll need to keep information for and when it will be deleted.
– Boards of Trustees and Principals must ensure there are safeguards in place that are reasonable in the circumstances. These will make sure that those rules are followed, and to provide assurance to individuals that the measures will prevent the loss, misuse, or disclosure of personal information collected by the CCTV.”
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner recommends that schools looking to install CCTV do a privacy impact assessment (PIA) for their school context. If they already have a PIA then they need to update it to extend CCTV to sensitive areas like toilets and changing areas.
“Doing a PIA helps people identify and assess the privacy risks of data collection, use, or handling of personal information. A PIA will also propose ways to mitigate or minimise those risks. This would include the consideration of less privacy intrusive means of achieving the outcomes sought,” says the Commissioner.