Section 7: Privacy

CCTV, Third Party Webcams and Other Material from Outside Sources


Recordings and live feeds provided by others may pose issues of privacy, as well as concerns about accuracy, anonymity, offence, defamation, contempt of court or data protection.  Such content includes closed circuit television (CCTV), material from webcams and recordings provided by the emergency services (including 999 calls), Customs and Excise, or other public authorities, organisations or individuals.

We should take care when using such material if we do not have an established relationship with the outside source.  In all cases we should research its origins and consider relevant privacy issues (including whether it should be assessed as secret recording) before we decide to broadcast it.

(See Section 3 Accuracy: 3.4.5 - 3.4.6Section 6 Fairness, Contributors and Consent: 6.4.10 - 6.4.12 and Section 18 The Law)

Any proposal to put a third party's webcam feed on a BBC website or platform must be referred to a senior editorial figure, or for independents to the commissioning editor, who may also consult Editorial Policy.  We should aim to maintain editorial control of any webcam which transmits live to a BBC site.  This will protect our editorial independence and reduce the risk of intrusive, harmful, offensive or unduly promotional images appearing on our site.

Where this is not practicable, the risk of allowing a third party's live output to appear on a BBC site must be assessed carefully before we proceed.  We should take account of the source of the webcam, the shot, the subject matter and the format.  For example, taking a feed from a civic body, or a static shot of a city skyline, may be acceptable with appropriate safeguards. However, it is unlikely we would embed a live video stream feed from an event sponsor; any such proposal must be referred to Editorial Policy. 


The BBC should retain editorial responsibility for monitoring the output of a webcam or feed, regardless of who owns it.  The level of monitoring should be appropriate for the content of the camera.  A producer should normally be in a position to cut the feed from a live webcam if it becomes necessary.  However, it is usually acceptable to transmit pictures from traffic webcams, even when the pictures are not monitored by us, provided we are satisfied that the police, or other responsible authority, are monitoring the pictures to an appropriate standard.

(See Guidance: Links and Feeds)