The BBC should only operate a webcam for a clear editorial reason. It should be removed when that purpose has been achieved. Webcams should not be installed to capture close-up images of private areas such as houses, gardens or offices without the written permission of the owner. If written permission is not obtained, any plan to install such a webcam should be considered as a proposal for secret recording.
The Data Protection Act 1998 and the Information Commissioner's Code of Practice on CCTV restrict the use of webcams in some circumstances. Further advice is available from the Information Policy and Compliance (IPC) department.
Where webcams are installed in BBC studios, the programme producer should warn guests in advance that a studio webcam will be in operation. This is particularly important for radio guests who may not expect to be in vision. If radio guests refuse to be on a webcam feed then we should normally respect their wishes. Visitors and staff should also be made aware of studio-operated webcams.
The producer should be able to cut or mask the live feed from the camera to the website immediately. The same policy applies to feeds from non-BBC studios where we are recording interviews. More detailed guidelines covering the use of webcams on BBC premises are available from Information Security.
Webcams in Public and Semi-public Spaces
When the BBC installs a webcam in a public or semi-public place (which gives the public general access) and individuals are likely to be identifiable, for example because the webcam transmits a sufficiently high level of detail, we should take reasonable steps to warn members of the public that the webcam is being operated by the BBC within a defined area. At a live event, outside broadcast or similar, this may be done by notices outside the venue and a line of information on any posters or tickets. If the webcam is in a public space, like a street or a park, a clear warning notice should be placed near the webcam.
There is no need to warn people that they may be on camera if individuals are not identifiable from the webcam output.