Press release – 496(2007)

Video surveillance is a threat to fundamental freedoms, says a Venice Commission report

Strasbourg, 11.07.2007 - The Council of Europe's European Commission for Democracy through Law (“Venice Commission”) has made public an opinion on the compatibility of video surveillance of public places by public operators with the protection of fundamental freedoms.

The Venice Commission concluded that the practice is a threat to the fundamental rights to respect for private life and freedom of movement and touches on specific issues of protection of the personal data gathered in this way.

While public security imperatives may exist, it invited the member states to take steps to:

systematically indicate the zones being filmed;
set up an independent body, at national level, to guarantee the lawfulness of such installations, in line with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights and the international texts governing the gathering and protection of data.

The Venice Commission regards such surveillance by private operators as a threat to personal freedoms, and also recommends that anyone subject to such surveillance should be allowed access to the data thereby collected and be informed of the use to which they are put. The equipment used for such surveillance should be open to supervision by the authorities.

The Venice Commission is the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters. It is made up of independent experts and currently has 48 member States (*).

Fur further information, see

(*) Argentina, Canada, Korea, the United States, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Holy See and Uruguay enjoy observer status, Belarus holds associate member status and South Africa holds special cooperation status.

Council of Europe Press Division
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11