Creche wants live monitoring of children despite privacy concerns

Data Protection Commissioner ruled out mobile phone monitoring after nursing home complaint


A creche at the centre of recent controversy over the alleged mistreatment of children is seeking approval for live CCTV monitoring of its facilities despite data protection concerns.

Links Childcare wrote to parents yesterday saying it had the system in place last week but had to stop it when they discovered a “security flaw”.

Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes told Links, which operates a chain of creches, that a live feed from CCTV cameras in creches would breach privacy rules, according to an email from director Deirdre Kelly sent to parents.

Links responded to the commissioner and is hoping to hear back next week. “Once we have their approval we will revert back to our parents and ask for your consent,” added Ms Kelly.

Mr Hawkes last month warned about CCTV footage accessed by mobile phones after a complaint was made about such monitoring at a nursing home.

‘No valid justification’
“In instances such as that outlined in this case study, where there is no valid justification for the use of remote access technology to link to CCTV cameras, we will continue to order that the remote access concerned be terminated,” the commissioner’s annual report added.

Mr Hawkes has warned that the use of CCTV in creches was not a substitute for proper supervision and training of staff.

Privacy concerns arose for staff and children at creches where live monitoring on phones was used, particularly regarding who might be able to access the footage, his office said yesterday.

The Links email to parents said: “Last week we had a system in place where we were feeding our CCTV cameras on to a mobile phone application. However, we discovered a security flaw and had to go back to the drawing board.”

A spokesman for the creche was not able to say what the security flaw was or whether the live monitoring had already gone out on to mobile phones before it was stopped.