CCTV: Out­rage as cam­eras used to film peo­ple in pool’s chang­ing rooms.

OLYMPIA: Pri­vacy group con­demns cam­eras as a ‘mas­sive in­tru­sion’

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Jake KEITH

CCTV is be­ing used to film peo­ple in the chang­ing rooms of a pub­lic swim­ming pool.

This was re­vealed af­ter a cus­tomer of Dundee’s Olympia swim­ming pool spoke out af­ter dis­cov­er­ing CCTV cam­eras in the chang­ing rooms.

A pri­vacy mon­i­tor group has con­demned the dis­cov­ery as a “mas­sive in­tru­sion”.

Swim­ming pool user Cather­ine was chang­ing in the fam­ily cu­bi­cle at the Sea­gate sports cen­tre when she no­ticed a cam­era, which ap­peared to be able to see her and her son while chang­ing.

Shocked Cather­ine took a pic­ture of the cam­era and raised con­cerns with op­er­a­tors Leisure & Cul­ture Dundee (L&CD).

An L&CD spokesper­son said: “The cam­eras are used for pub­lic safety and have spe­cial­ist soft­ware that blocks out nearby cu­bi­cles to pro­tect vis­i­tor pri­vacy.

“The soft­ware set up blocks ar­eas on the view­ing screen which is built into the sys­tem and can’t be al­tered.”

How­ever, Cather­ine said she re­mains “sus­pi­cious” about this claim.

She said: “I know some of th­ese cam­era types can’t ro­tate but this soft­ware thing sounds a bit sus­pect.

“I wouldn’t say I’m con­cerned about it, more just sur­prised. I don’t think I would have no­ticed if I hadn’t stopped to feed my son on the bench be­fore leav­ing.

“Then once I no­ticed it, it was all I could see.

“I don’t think it’s needed in the chang­ing area – they al­ways have staff on duty at the desk. Cam­eras out­side the door would cap­ture peo­ple com­ing and go­ing per­fectly well.

“I hate to think that my son will grow up see­ing th­ese lit­tle black domes ev­ery­where and not even ques­tion why they are there.

“Also, they claim they have soft­ware that blocks the pri­vate cu­bi­cles, which means that there is likely an orig­i­nal ver­sion of unedited footage some­where on their sys­tem.”

Cam­paign or­gan­i­sa­tion Big Brother Watch, which aims to pro­tect the pub­lic’s pri­vacy and civil lib­er­ties, said the lo­ca­tion of the cam­eras was a “mas­sive in­tru­sion”.

A spokesper­son said: “While the cam­eras ap­pear to be ca­pa­ble of block­ing out the cu­bi­cles, they will still be cap­tur­ing highly sen­si­tive footage of both adults and chil­dren in the com­mu­nal spa­ces.

“Chang­ing rooms are pri­vate places and in­stalling CCTV is a mas­sive in­tru­sion on that ex­pec­ta­tion.” De­spite con­cern, it is not il­le­gal place CCTV in chang­ing rooms. Un­der data pro­tec­tion laws, how­ever, CCTV cam­eras should only be used in “ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances” in places where pri­vacy would be ex­pected, such as chang­ing rooms or toi­lets.

If CCTV is in­stalled in th­ese ar­eas, it should only be used to deal with very se­ri­ous con­cerns and the oper­a­tor must let peo­ple know they are be­ing filmed — nor­mally us­ing signs.

Big Brother Watch added: “The Gov­ern­ment guid­ance on CCTV sug­gests it should only be used when strictly nec­es­sary, it is very dif­fi­cult to think of a cir­cum­stance where this would be the case.

“CCTV of fully-clothed peo­ple on the street is one con­cern, but chang­ing rooms are one area we would never ex­pect to be filmed.” to

Pic­ture: Kris Miller.

Leisure & Cul­ture Dundee, who op­er­ate the Olympia, say the cam­eras are blocked from see­ing into the cu­bi­cle.

Gov­ern­ment guid­ance sug­gests CCTV should only be used when strictly nec­es­sary.

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