Video surveillance in the company, what is allowed and what is not!

For many years it has worked without and suddenly the boss announces that he wants to monitor the entire company by camera. But is he allowed to do that?

A question of purpose

If the manager wants to monitor the public-accessible space with a video camera, he must mark this well for all customers and employees. The purposes must be clearly defined, for example to prevent theft or robberies. If the purpose is not fulfilled, the recordings must be deleted immediately. According to BDSG § 6b, the observation of publicly accessible rooms is only permissible for the performance of tasks by public bodies, for the exercise of domiciliary rights or for the protection of legitimate interests for specifically defined purposes. There must be no indications that outweigh the interests of the persons concerned that are worthy of protection.

Under no circumstances may video surveillance take place in private rooms, such as toilets or sanitary areas, break rooms, sleeping or changing areas. According to §201a of the German Criminal Code, these are highly personal areas of life.

He or she may only use a camera to guard locations that are not accessible to the public for the following purposes and to protect important operational interests:

Safeguarding of house rights, prevention of dangers, quality and access control, safety of employees and facilities, and protection of property. If the purpose is not fulfilled here either, the recordings must be deleted immediately.

And sound recordings?

Sound recordings are completely forbidden according to §201 StGB.

Personal rights and data protection

Unauthorized video surveillance encroaches on personal rights. According to §§ 22 KunstUrhG, the protection of one's own person and data as well as the right to one's own image are paramount in every respect. Whoever intends to monitor a certain area should carefully consider this issue. He must obtain the consent of all those affected. This is best done in writing.


"Those who give up freedom to gain security will end up losing both."
Benjamin Franklin

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