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Hungary: NAIH clarifies limits on the use of body cameras by parking attendants

On October 25, 2023, the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (NAIH) published its decision in Case No. NAIH-8821-3/2023, in which it clarified requirements regarding the use of body cameras by parking attendants undertaking parking control tasks following several complaints.

Background to the decision

The NAIH noted that it had received submissions relating to parking control tasks performed by parking attendants who do not qualify as public space inspectors, local government, or business associations. In these cases, the parking attendants were equipped with body cameras that recorded images and sound to increase their safety and to facilitate evidence to effectively investigate reports of threats to safety.

Findings of the NAIH

The NAIH found, considering the requirements under Article 5 of the GDPR, that equipping parking attendants with body cameras for the purpose of increasing safety and facilitating evidence was not acceptable. The NAIH drew attention to the fact that surveillance in public areas is only possible in a narrow scope, as the activity may violate the privacy rights of individuals caught on camera by being included in recordings against their wishes. The NAIH noted that the following persons may carry out surveillance, including using body cameras, in public spaces:

  • persons acting on behalf of police data management bodies;

  • the public space inspectors; and
  • the nature conservation guard and the municipal nature conservation guard service.

Additionally, the NAIH found that neither parking attendants nor the company entrusted with parking control tasks can be considered data controllers carrying out data processing for the purpose of law enforcement. As such, parking attendants cannot use body cameras for the purpose of crime prevention. The NAIH referred to a Constitutional Court case that held that a body camera can be operated to protect the life and physical integrity of employees if the danger actually exists, and the danger is immediate. Following this, potential danger cannot be considered as a constitutionally acceptable purpose for processing.

The NAIH emphasized that cameras cannot be operated for the permanent observation of employees and their activities without an express purpose, as continuous video and audio recording do not meet the requirements of necessity and proportionality.

Outcomes

The NAIH recommended adopting another solution that does not, or to a lesser extent, involve the processing of personal data. Suggestions provided by the NAIH included having the parking attendants work in pairs or involving a public spaces inspector who can be classified as a crime prevention officer.

You can download the decision, only available in Hungarian, here.