CCTV: Outrage as cameras used to film people in pool’s changing rooms.
OLYMPIA: Privacy group condemns cameras as a ‘massive intrusion’
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
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.