Feeds

Nokia Observation: camera phone or CCTV?

Data Protection rears head

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Buyers of Nokia's new Observation camera run the risk of infringing the UK's Data Protection Act, it has emerged.

The Observation is a digicam with a built-in cellphone. Nokia is offering the device as a home and office security tool. The camera contains a heat-scanning motion detector. If it detects movement within its field of view it sends its owner a text message warning them of the fact. Pictures identifying the possible intruder are sent to by e-mail. The camera can operate at night, and a microphone capable of recording conversations.

However, if the camera takes the snap of the intruder's face - or anyone else for that matter - that is identifiable, it immediately comes into the scope of the UK's Data Protection Act and European Directive 95/46, which deals with the processing of personal data, ERT Weekly, the electrical retail business' newspaper, reports.

For Nokia and its UK customers, that means the device counts as a CCTV camera, and the user may have to register with the UK's Information Commissioner (formerly the Data Protection Registrar) at a cost of £35 per year. Users in other territories may have to register with local data protection organisations. The UK law covers computers and other devices with "some ability to process automatically, eg. CCTV systems". Failure to register is an offence.

Nokia's web site carries the following warning in the camera's legal information page and at the end of the FAQ: "Some jurisdictions have laws and regulations about the use of a device recording images and conversations in public or private areas and regarding the processing and further use of such data. Nokia encourages its customers to obey all laws and to honor the personal rights of others."

The Observer's manual adds: "National laws and regulations may place restrictions on recording images and regarding further processing and use of such data. Do not use this feature illegally. Honour the privacy and other legitimate rights of others and obey all laws governing, for example, data protection, privacy and publicity."

The trouble is, how many users are used to scanning web sites' legal notices pages, or the large print in manuals, let alone the small print?

The Observation is set to go on sale in the next few weeks, for around £300, says ERT Weekly. ®

Related Links

Nokia's Observation page
ERT Weekly: Nokia camera phone falls foul of Data Protection legislation

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.