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Durham University

Information Governance

Filming and Photography

Images of people can be classed as personal data, depending on the context in which it is captured and used, along with any meta-data stored with the images. There is often sensitivity and caution around capturing images, whether through photography, filming or using surveillance cameras.

The key element to consider is the purpose of capturing the images, followed by any data that you are recording regarding the content of the image. To illustrate:

  • A picture of a face is not personal data
  • A picture of a face along with some information that identifies the individual, perhaps name badges, annotated names or metadata in the file will render the image as personal data
  • A video of somebody in a street is not personal data
  • Use of that video in connection with investigating an incident, whether involving the subject in the video or not, would make their image personal data if they could be identified.

If you plan on taking pictures or video of public areas for your personal use, you should be able to do so unless there are other local conditions that prevent it.

If you are engaging a third party to take some pictures for publicity or marketing, then you need to take extra consideration of the purpose and the information that will be recorded.

Body Worn Video is typically used for safety and security reasons and to provide evidence of activities, so the images processed are most likely to be personal data. Specific guidance has been prepared to assist in the selection and use of Body Worn Video.