Soon my sci fi movie 'FACELESS' -made from authentic cctv recordings- will
be released; at this occasion I'd like to post its manifesto below ,

opportunistic infections of the surveillance apparatus

Filmmakers render aspects of nature, human activity and imagination visible.
The documentary film continues to be a potent form in all its variety, from
the personal video diary to "objective" fly-on-the-wall shoots, to the
hybrid fact/fiction ("faction") film. But the most prolific documentarists
are no longer to be found in film schools and TV stations. In some European
and American cities, every street corner is under constant surveillance
using recording closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras. Such cameras are typically
operated by local government, police, private security firms, large
corporations and small businesses, and private individuals, and may be
automatic or controlled (zoomed and panned) from a remote control room.
Filmmakers, and in particular documentarists of all flavours, should reflect
on this constant gaze. Why bring in additional cameras, when much private
and public urban space is already covered from numerous angles?

MANIFESTO FOR CCTV FILMMAKERS declares a set of rules, establishes effective
procedures, and identifies further issues for filmmakers using pre-existing
CCTV (surveillance) systems as a medium in the UK. The manifesto is
constructed with reference to the Data Protection Act 1988 and related
privacy legislation that gives the subjects of data records (including CCTV
footage) access to copies of the data. The filmmaker's standard equipment is
thus redundant; indeed, its use is prohibited. The manifesto can easily be
adapted for different jurisdictions.



The filmmaker is not permitted to introduce any cameras or lighting into the


A protagonist ("data subject") is required to feature in all sequences.
Data Protection Act 1998; 1998 Chapter 29; Part II Section 7(1). **
[A]n individual is entitled ­
(a) to be informed by any data controller whether personal data of which
that individual is the data subject are being processed by or on behalf of
that data controller,
(b) if that is the case, to be given by the data controller a description of
    (i) the personal data of which that individual is the data subject,
    (ii) the purposes for which they are being or are to be processed, and
    (iii) the recipients or classes of recipients to whom they are or may be
(c) to have communicated to him in an intelligible form ­
    (i) the information constituting any personal data of which that
individual is the data subject, and
    (ii) any information available to the data controller as to the source
of those data, and
(d) where the processing by automatic means of personal data of which that
individual is the data subject for the purpose of evaluating matters
relating to him such as, for example, his performance at work, his
creditworthiness, his reliability or his conduct, has constituted or is
likely to constitute the sole basis for any decision significantly affecting
him, to be informed by the data controller of the logic involved in that

The documented activity of the protagonist must qualify as personal or
sensitive data. The filmmaker is to establish this by locating a
surveillance camera and circumscribing the field of action for the actors
relative to it, so that incidents of biographical relevance (i.e. that
reveal personal data) occur in the frame.
ICO CCTV systems and the Data Protection Act JB v.5 01/02/04 (***)
2. The court decided that for information to relate to an individual (and be
covered by the DPA) it had to affect their privacy. To help judge this, the
Court decided that two matters were important: that a person had to be the
focus of information, the information tells you something significant about

The provisions of the 1998 Act are based on the requirements of a European
Directive, which at, Article 2, defines, personal data as follows:
³Personal data² shall mean any information relating to an identified or
identifiable natural person; an identifiable person is one who can be
identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an
identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical,
physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.
The definition of personal data is not therefore limited to circumstances
where a data controller can attribute a name to a particular image. If
images of distinguishable individuals¹ features are processed and an
individual can be identified from these images, they will amount to personal

All people other than the protagonist ("third parties") will be rendered
unidentifiable on the data obtained from the CCTV operators. Typically,
operators blur or mask out faces of third parties. The filmmaker is to
consider the visual impact of this manipulation, and to establish a rule for
the handling of footage delivered with ineffectual masking or blurring ­ for
example, reporting the offence.
Right to Privacy in Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (****):
1. Everyone has the right to respect for private and family life, his home
and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of
this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary in a
democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or
the economic well being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or
crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the
rights or freedoms of others.

4. On the other hand, the disclosure of third party information in
compliance with a subject access request may also expose the data controller
to complaint or action by the third party, for example [...] for breach of
6. The data controller should consider to what extent it is possible to
communicate the information sought without disclosing any third party
information [...] This might be achieved by editing the information to
remove names or other identifying details.


The filmmaker is to choose sites that are covered by multiple surveillance
cameras, preferably operated by a large business, private security firm or
public authority ­ or, if operated by a small retailer, cameras of the kind
that can be panned and zoomed remotely. Sites may be mobile ­ for example, a
public bus.   
ICO CCTV systems and the Data Protection Act JB v.5 01/02/04
If you have just a basic CCTV system your use may no longer be covered by
the DPA. [...] Small retailers would not be covered who
­ only have a couple of cameras,
­ can't move them remotely,
­ just record on video tape whatever the camera picks up,
­ only give the recorded images to the police to investigate an incident in
their shop.
For every camera used, the operator's name and contact details are to be
Code of practice issued by the Data Protection Commissioner, under Section
51(3)(b) of the Data Protection Act 1998, 07/2000 (*****)
7. Signs should be placed so that the public are aware that they are
entering a zone which is covered by surveillance equipment.
The signs should contain the following information:
Identity of the person or organisation responsible for the scheme.
The purposes of the scheme.
Details of whom to contact regarding the scheme.
(First Data Protection Principle).


After completing each shoot, the filmmaker is to address a written request
("subject access request letter") to the CCTV operator ("data controller")
immediately to ensure that the data recovery process can be initiated while
the recordings are still archived. (Mandatory retention periods vary.)
Code of practice issued by the Data Protection Commissioner, under Section
51(3)(b) of the Data Protection Act 1998, 07/2000
1. Once the retention period has expired, the images should be removed or
erased (Fifth Data Protection Principle).

The subject access request letter is to state the place and time of the
recording and include a picture of the protagonist, wearing the same clothes
if possible, and a cheque for £10 (the maximum fee chargeable). Letters
should be sent by a secure system which provides evidence of delivery. (Some
data controllers may require the notarisation of the letter to legally
establish identity.)
Data Protection Act 1998; 1998 Chapter 29, Part II Section 7(2)
A data controller is not obliged to supply any information under subsection
(1) unless he has received ­
(a) a request in writing, and
(b) except in prescribed cases, such fee (not exceeding the prescribed
maximum) as he may require.

The filmmaker is to allow a maximum 40 days after sending the data request
for an initial response.
Code of practice issued by the Data Protection Commissioner, under Section
51(3)(b) of the Data Protection Act  1998, 07/2000
A data controller must comply with a subject access request promptly, and in
any event within forty days of receipt of the request or, if later, within
forty days of receipt of:
the information required (i.e. to satisfy himself as to the identity of the
person making the request and to locate the information which that person
seeks); and the fee.

The filmmaker is to establish a set of rules for handling the various
formats in which the data may be sent (video tape, DVD-video, digital files
encoded with proprietary codecs, hard copies of frames).


CCTV systems are not permitted record sound. The filmmaker is to establish a
set of rules for the soundtrack (if any) of the movie ­ for example,
prohibiting field recordings.


Footage received is subject to complex copyright issues. The filmmaker is to
take legal advice and establish a strategy.


(*) In addition to the boom in surveillance, the proliferation of miniature
mobile cameras (many built into phones and other handheld devices) has led
to the phenomenon of "sous-veillance" activities carried out by the
population at large. News services now actively solicit amateur recordings
from camcorders and even mobile phones, often combining them with CCTV
footage where they have access to it, when reporting from scenes of crimes,
accidents or natural disasters. The manifesto can be extended to provide a
framework for films that work with acts of sous-veillance.

(**) Data Protection Act 1998 Chapter 29

(***) CCTV systems and the Data Protection Act JB v.5

(****) Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (CCTV and the Human Rights

(*****) CCTV Guidance and the Data Protection Act - Good Practice Note


___________________manu Luksch______________/
_ mobile: (+44) 780 7474 378  __ (+43) 650 9977 988
skype: manulita  __ http://www.ambientTV.NET _____/

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