ICO slams CCTV sound recording

Sound recording on CCTV cameras has been called "highly intrusive" by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) - an opinion shared by most people, according to new research.

Seven out of 10 people polled by ICM for the ICO said they opposed the idea of such cameras recording conversations.

Jonathan Bamford, assistant commissioner at the ICO, said: "CCTV enjoys a lot of public support and can have benefits such as helping with the detection of crime. However, it can also be extremely intrusive, monitoring ordinary individuals as they go about their day to day business."

In a new CCTV code of practice launched today, the ICO warned organisations to only use the technology in highly exceptional circumstances.

Bamford added: "It is essential that organisations and businesses use CCTV responsibly in order to maintain public trust and confidence in the use of CCTV and to prevent its use becoming increasingly viewed as part of the surveillance society."

The poll also showed that half of the thousand people surveyed were not aware that information collected by CCTV cameras is covered by the data protection act.