Aerial video footage feeds

Pippa King made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by British Broadcasting Corporation.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

Ref: BBC Twitter feed https://mobile.twitter.com/BBCBreaking/s...

It was stated in the above news report “BBC pictures from an aerial camera…” “BBC pictures, aerial footage…”

1) Please advise who the camera, taking the video footage, belongs to.

2) How many separate video feeds like this does the BBC have access to in London?

3) Are the video feeds the BBC has access to, via such cameras, live/in real time?

4) Are the cameras fixed or mobile, i.e. designed to be moved around different locations.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Ms King,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your request was received on 29 August 2018. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days.

If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the above address.

The reference number for your request is RFI20181641.

Yours sincerely

Information Rights, BBC Legal
BC2A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TP

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Pippa King,

                                            

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20181641.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Information Rights

 

BBC Freedom of Information

BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre

201 Wood Lane

London W12 7TP

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

[3]Description: Description: \\BBCFS2025\UserData$\myrien01\Documents\My
Pictures\BBC.png

 

 

 

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References

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1. file:///tmp/www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Pippa King left an annotation ()

The BBC's response stated (see their attached reply):
"The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you and will not be doing so on this occasion. Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”.

and

"The BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the Act. If you disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner."

In effect these continuous HD cameras are (presumably running 24/7) log live images in real time, hence the capture of the terrorist incident these cameras. These could be considered HD surveillance cameras in which case it could be argued at the very least CCTV signage should be applied, able to viewed by those whose images the camera would log.

As the BBC does not offer an internal review an appeal will be sent to the ICO. Details of which will be posted here.

Pippa King left an annotation ()

A complaints form and the following was sent to the ICO today.

Dear ICO,

I wish to make an appeal in respect to a response from a Freedom of Information request (FOIR) received from the BBC. Please see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a... for full details.

The outline of the appeal concerns the the footage that the BBC broadcast on the 14th August 2018 here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45180120?n...

https://mobile.twitter.com/BBCBreaking/s...

This video feed is (obviously) taking live footage, hence the ability to capture the terrorist incident on the day in Westminster. My Freedom of Information questions to the BBC in respect of this video feed were:

1) Please advise who the camera, taking the video footage, belongs to.
2) How many separate video feeds like this does the BBC have access to in London?
3) Are the video feeds the BBC has access to, via such cameras, live/in real time?
4) Are the cameras fixed or mobile, i.e. designed to be moved around different locations.

The BBC’s response:

“The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you and will not be doing so on this occasion. Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”. The BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities1.”

My concerns about the nature of the recording are:

1. This would appear to be a live streaming camera, constantly recording events 24/7 - unable to determine due to BBC non response to the above FOIR. The BBC is recording and storing these images of the public in a public area, with an ability to play back and broadcast. A general round the clock filming in progress (but we cannot determine this from the BBC’s refusal of the FOIR) just in case the video footage is needed for journalist purposes.

2. It could be argued that the vast majority of the video camera footage from live feeds such as this, is not required for journalist purposes, hence their use of Part VI of Schedule 1 of the Act is not triggered.

3. Depending on the amount of live video feeds the BBC has around London, and possibly other areas in the UK, this could be considered intrusive in that the cameras are filming people going about their everyday lives - unable to determine due to BBC non response to the above FOIR. The footage of which is intended for public broadcast purposes. Presumably video footage could also be requested by the police and security services when incidents happen, thereby making the BBC cameras act in a surveillance capacity.

4. If such cameras are recording live images, pointing at the public, there should be visible CCTV signage in areas being recorded directing people to the BBC with a contact should they have any queries.

5. With regards to point 1. If the cameras are recording 24 hours a day or even only in daylight hours is this considered necessary or proportionate gathering of data for the journalistic purpose it is needed for? Are the cameras recording breaching the Data Protection Act or GDPR? unable to determine due to BBC non response to the above FOIR. Asking another question as to the broadcasted proportion of video footage recorded by such aerial cameras will result, I presume, in the same section of the act used to not to respond to my initial enquiry.

6. The legislative issues with regards to CCTV signage on display or not, informing the public they are being filmed by the BBC and Privacy Impact Assessments are addressed in a a new FOIR here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

I hope the BBC will be able to answer my original request as the blanket filming of the public by high definition aerial cameras, on a day to day basis is of concern. We are monitored by a host of camera systems that do have regulations they need to adhere to. At the very least if the BBC are recording on a rolling basis the public should be made aware of where these cameras are, where I.e. the streets, they are recording with clear signage stating the recording camera locations, as they are not obvious, what they are capable of recording and a BBC contact for anyone who has queries. As, we the public, are funding these cameras we should have a right to know how our money is being spent on a system that records our activity.

As I was unable to determine the nature of the cameras in my initial request, subsequent questions as to whether the BBC are adhering to various legislations concerning the recording of the public is going to prove difficult to follow up.

I hope you are able to assist in this instance.

Pippa King

28th September 2018

Pippa King left an annotation ()

Reply back 6th October 2018 from the ICO:

Dear Ms King,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
Your FOIA request to the BBC dated 29 August 2018

I am writing from the Information Commissioner’s Office to explain the Commissioner’s preliminary conclusion with respect to your complaint. The Commissioner is satisfied that the BBC has correctly handled your request for information under the FOIA.

Summary of the correspondence

On 29 August 2018 made an information request to the BBC for the following information:

Ref: BBC Twitter feed https://mobile.twitter.com/BBCBreaking/s...

It was stated in the above news report “BBC pictures from an aerial camera…” “BBC pictures, aerial footage…”

1) Please advise who the camera, taking the video footage, belongs to.
2) How many separate video feeds like this does the BBC have access to in London?
3) Are the video feeds the BBC has access to, via such cameras, live/in real time?
4) Are the cameras fixed or mobile, i.e. designed to be moved around different locations.

On 24 September 2018 the BBC responded to your request. The BBC explained that it did not believe that the information was caught by FOIA because it was held for the purposes of ‘art, journalism or literature’.

Some key principles about the operation of FOIA

Although the BBC is listed as a public authority in the FOIA it applies to the BBC only to a limited extent.

The BBC is a public authority for the purposes of the FOIA – “in respect of information held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature.”

This is known as the Schedule 1 derogation.

This means that information held for the purposes of journalism, art or literature is not covered by the FOIA but is derogated.

The Commissioner can only consider concerns within the scope of the FOIA. The Commissioner is unable to compel the public authority to provide information outside its obligations under FOIA. The operation of the derogation is explained in more detail below.

How the derogation works

Since the FOIA came into force, the issue on derogation has created considerable litigation about what this means. The High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have explained their views about when the derogation will apply and their decisions are binding on the Commissioner. In summary, if the information is held and relates to ‘output’ then it falls outside FOIA.

In 2012, the Supreme Court in Sugar (Deceased) v British Broadcasting Corporation and another [2012] UKSC 4 gave a clear definition of what the phrase ‘journalism, art or literature’ means in FOIA and what types of information it will cover; the Supreme Court found that, “…the composite expression ‘journalism, art or literature’ seems to be intended to cover the whole of the BBC’s output in its mission (under article 5 of its Royal Charter) to inform, educate and entertain the public. On that comprehensive approach the purposes of journalism, art or literature would be, quite simply, the purposes of the BBC’s entire output to the public.” (Lord Walker at para 70).

In relation to journalism the Supreme Court accepted the Information Tribunal’s definition of journalism as comprising three elements:

The first is the collecting or gathering, writing and verifying of materials for publication.
The second is editorial. This involves the exercise of judgement on issues such as:
* the selection, prioritisation and timing of matters for broadcast
or publication;
* the analysis of, and review of individual programmes; and
* the provision of context and background to such programmes.
The third element is the maintenance and enhancement of the standards and quality of journalism (particularly with respect to accuracy, balance and completeness). This may involve the training and development of individual journalists, the mentoring of less experienced journalists by more experienced colleagues, professional supervision and guidance, and reviews of the standards and quality of particular areas of programme making.”

Also the Supreme Court found (in a 4:1 majority) that if the information is held by the BBC to any significant degree for the relevant purposes (i.e. journalism, art, literature) it is exempt from production under FOIA, even if the information is also held for other purposes[1].

Therefore provided there is a relationship between the information and one of the purposes listed in Part VI of Schedule 1 – which are to be read to mean ‘output’ – then the information is derogated.

The information relevant to the request need not be journalistic, artistic or literary material itself. All that must be evidenced is that the information requested has a relationship with the BBC’s output.

Is there a relationship between the information requested and ‘output’?

The information you have requested, relating to BBC aerial footage, is directly linked to the BBC’s output. As explained above even if the information is not held for the sole purpose of journalism, art or literature, if it is held for one of these purposes to any significant degree, it falls outside the scope of FOIA. Public interest considerations are not relevant as the BBC is simply not covered by FOIA for this type of information. As a result I am satisfied that in this case the Commissioner has no jurisdiction in this matter and therefore no statutory power to order disclosure.

You may wish to read some decision notices regarding the application of the derogation at the link below by selecting the BBC under the ‘Authority’ tab:

http://search.ico.org.uk/ico/search/deci...

The Commissioner’s preliminary conclusion in this case

As a preliminary conclusion, the Commissioner is satisfied that the requested information is derogated and therefore the BBC is not obliged to comply with Parts I to V of the FOIA with respect to this request.

Progression of this case and actions required

Please consider the following options:

It may be case that you are prepared to withdraw this complaint at this point given the information above. This does not mean that you are satisfied with the situation, but that you understand that any decision notice you will receive will be highly likely to uphold the position of the BBC and find against you. Should you agree to withdraw your complaint without a decision notice you would not then be able to appeal this case to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights).
The alternative is that you want to proceed to a decision notice and as explained above it is highly likely to uphold the position of the BBC and find against you. Both parties will however have a right of appeal at the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) where there are grounds to do so. If you require a decision notice I would ask you to provide your arguments about why you disagree with the preliminary view that is outlined above and encourage you to read through the material that I have referenced.
This case will now be closed and if I do not hear from you within the next 10 working days, that is by 22 October 2018, I will proceed on the basis that you are prepared to withdraw this case.

Thank you for your co-operation in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Pippa King left an annotation ()

My reply 8th October 2018 to the ICO:

Thank you for your reply. I understand the limitations I have in asking the BBC questions under the Freedom of Information Act and I do fully appreciate the reasons why.

However, what I wish to determine (but am unable to due to the FOIA exemptions) are whether the correct checks and balances have been applied to the use of such camera/s presumably constantly filming the public, under various other legislations such as Protection of Freedoms Act - Surveillance Cameras Commissioner's remit, Data Protection Act - appropriate signage and GDPR.

Salient points of concern that I am unable to determine are:

1. Where is the correct Surveillance 'CCTV' Camera signage informing the public they are being filmed, for this particular camera?
2. How many similar cameras are filming around the capital city?
3. Does the BBC have similar cameras in any other city locations [potentially] filming 24/7?
4. Should a Privacy Impact Assessment be carried out?
5. Are these cameras and the BBC use of them subject the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice?

If I am unable to determine whether the use, via the Freedom of Information Act, of such cameras falls with various legislations we have governing cameras filming the public how can we, the public, be certain that data from such cameras are not being used responsibly? Some people may take the view that as we, the BBC licence fee payer, have paid for the cameras we should know the reasons why it is deemed necessary to have 24/7 live streaming aerial camera/s in London (or elsewhere), how many we have paid for and that they are used in compliance with the various laws governing the use of ‘CCTV’.

If the police or security services think there may be data on footage that the BBC owns that would help solve a crime then, as I understand, they are able to request such footage. Also, under Subject Access Request (SAR) we, the public, should be able to request such data from the BBC I.e. if we were involved in an incident and need to see our data on a particular date and time. Without the relevant ‘CCTV’ signage the public would be unaware of their data being recorded.

With the use of such cameras for journalist purposes, therefore disabling members of the public from finding out more information on them [under the FOIA], does the ICO or the Surveillance Camera Commissioner keep a record of where the BBC has placed such cameras? Does Sky, ITN, Channel 4 have similar cameras or does a separate company own the camera/s and sell the footage on to the BBC or other news outlet for media broadcast? If so who is that company and as a members of the public potentially paying for that service, we should be able to determine the cost of such - and again under the DPA know about the camera/s for SARs.

If possible please could you advise if I need to ask the ICO and the Surveillance Camera Commissioner these questions under a Freedom of Information Act request or would it be possible to have a quick chat to determine this?

Many thanks for your time on this.

Pippa King left an annotation ()

ICO response 11th October 2018:

Further to your email of 8 October 2018, I have now made some enquiries into the queries you have raised.

In relation to most of these questions, the ICO wouldn’t have the information or know the answer to them. The ICO wouldn't keep a list of surveillance cameras it is not responsible for.

You would be able to direct an FOIA request to the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

In terms of whether a Privacy Impact Assessment should be carried out, please see the guidance below:

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

Ultimately, the decision would rest with the BBC.

I hope this assists you in deciding where to direct your enquiries going forwards.