Illegal video surveillance on Slovenian motorways

By EDRi · December 5, 2005

In Slovenia the number of installed surveillance video cameras on the roads is increasing rapidly. Apart from the CCTV systems on sections of so called “smart motorways” – which enable real-time monitoring of important traffic parameters and the informing of drivers via traffic portals – a large number of surveillance video cameras is installed on the whole Slovenian motorway network.

Article 74 of Slovenian Personal Data Protection Act requires that “a public or private sector person that conducts video surveillance must publish a notice to that effect. Such notice must be visible and plainly made public in a manner that enables individuals to acquaint themselves with its implementation at the latest when the video surveillance begins.”

DARS (Motorway company in the Republic of Slovenia) has published such notices on toll collection booths. However, there are many sections (so called “open sections” and “half-open sections”) of motorways on which drivers do not have to cross toll collection station in order to use the motorway. The use of such sections is free of charge. These sections are also equipped with video surveillance systems, but the drivers have no opportunity to get informed that they are entering the zone of video surveillance.

The Slovenian Personal Data Protection Inspector, Mr. Joze Bogataj confirmed that DARS is breaching article 74 of Personal Data Protection Act in case of motorway sections where drivers are not informed by toll booths or otherwise. There is one escape for video surveillance on these roads: it can be justified only if the video cameras are not able to capture image in sufficient quality, so that veivehiclechle number plates are not readable.

According to a statement by a police representative on 7 November on Radio Slovenia 1, DARS’ video surveillance cameras on certain motorway sections are also used by the police for the prosecution of traffic offences. Therefore, the video cameras are most likely able to capture images in a way that vehicle number plates can be read from the recorded image.

Inspector Bogataj made the point that there is no special law that would permit DARS to perform video surveillance without having to comply with article 74 of Personal Data Protection Act.

On the 23 August 2005, there were 859 video surveillance cameras installed on the Slovenian motorway network, including those for monitoring toll collection stations (information provided by DARS).

Detailed article about road CCTV (in Slovenian only)

(Contribution by Aljaz Marn, EDRI-observer, Slovenia)