Video surveillance security cameras in shops


Merchants use cameras to help prevent theft of goods by customers or employees.

These devices are subject to different rules depending on the area monitored. What are these rules? What precautions should I take? What are the rights of those filmed?

Cameras can be installed in supermarkets, jewelry stores, bakeries, hair salons, pharmacies, etc. They are installed for the security of property and people, as a deterrent, or to identify the perpetrators of theft or assault.

What precautions should be taken when installing the device?

If cameras can film traffic areas and shopping areas for security purposes, they must not infringe the privacy of customers. It is forbidden to install cameras inside the changing rooms or in the toilets.

The security systems should not be used to ensure that personnel are doing their jobs properly. It can however be used to unmask an employee who steals from the cash register. When an employee handles money, however, the camera must film the cashier more than the cashier.

Possibilities of video surveillance in shops – Yes – No, it is forbidden to monitor store employees in this way

Who can view the images?

The recorded images must not be freely accessible to all employees or customers. Only security officials, security guards or store management should be able to view them. However, it is possible to security camera installation in Chicago cameras filming the shopping area with a screen for viewing live images located at the entrance to the store and visible to all customers.

How long to keep the images?

The person responsible for the device must define the duration of conservation of the images from the cameras. This duration must be linked to the objective pursued by the cameras.

In principle, this duration does not exceed one month. As a general rule, keeping the images for a few days is sufficient to carry out the necessary verifications in the event of an incident and makes it possible to initiate any criminal proceedings. If such procedures are initiated, the images are then extracted from the device (after recording this operation in a specific notebook) and kept for the duration of the procedure.

The maximum image retention period should not be fixed solely on the basis of the technical storage capacity of the recorder.

What information?

Customers must be informed, by means of permanently posted signs, in a visible way, in the places concerned, and comprising at least, in addition to the pictogram of a camera indicating that the place is placed under video protection:

  • The purposes of the processing installed;
  • How long images are kept;
  • The name or position and the telephone number of the data protection officer / delegate (DPO);
  • The existence of “Data Protection” rights ;
  • The right to lodge a complaint with the National Commission for Data Protection specifying its contact details.

In order for the displayed panels to remain legible, all of the information which must be brought to the attention of the public may be by other means, in particular through a website. This other information is, in particular:

  • the legal basis for processing;
  • the recipients of personal data, including those established outside the EU;
  • Finally, if there is any, additional information that must be brought to the attention of the person (automated decision-making, profiling, etc.).

What formalities?

The formalities to be completed may vary depending on the locations that are being filmed.

 Places not open to the public


  • If the cameras are filming places not open to the public (storage places, reserves, areas dedicated to staff such as the bakery) no formalities.
  • If the body that installed the cameras has appointed a Data Protection Officer (DPO), the latter must be associated with the implementation of the cameras.

 Places open to the public

  • If the cameras film places open to the public (public entry and exit spaces, shopping areas, counters, cash desks), the device must be authorized by the prefect of the department (the prefect of police in Paris).
  • The form can be obtained from the departmental prefecture or downloaded from the website of the Ministry of the Interior. It can also be completed online.
  • In addition, since the implementation of a video protection device is likely to lead to “large-scale systematic surveillance of an area accessible to the public. It is recommended to question the necessity of carrying which will make it possible to assess the proportionality of the system envisaged, with regard to the objectives pursued.

 With employee representative bodies

  • Staff representative bodies must be informed and consulted before any decision is made to install cameras in a workplace.

What remedies?

If a video surveillance device does not respect these rules, you can enter:

  • The complaints service of the National Commission for Data Protection. The Get stealth can control all the devices installed on the national territory, whether they film places closed or open to the public;
  • the prefecture services, if the cameras are filming around the establishment;
  • police or gendarmerie services;
  • the prosecutor ;
  • Labor inspection services.
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