The Italian data protection authority (the "Garante") has recently announced that it has authorised a company to use intelligent video software in its production plant to detect abnormal behaviour or human presence in restricted areas and to keep the recording for 45 days.

The authorisation was granted following a "preliminary check" by the Garante, as provided by its "video surveillance guidelines" which were issued in 2010 ("Guidelines"). The Guidelines provide that a preliminary check is required where video surveillance can pose a risk to fundamental rights, such as when it is a smart system, or where it is proposed that the information will be held for longer than the maximum retention periods set out in the Guidelines (up to 24 hours and only in exceptional cases for longer periods of up to a week), and authorisations are granted on a case by case basis. Both of these circumstances would be present in this proposed processing which is why the preliminary check was required.

In this case, following its preliminary check, the Garante granted the authorisation requested because the system would be used for safety reasons against toxic and radioactive risks and complying with the industry's ISO standards, as such it considered the steps proposed by the company to be technically necessary.

However, the authorisation was conditional on compliance, for the access and use of the images, with the regulations set out in an agreement between the company and the trade unions (automated systems allowing remote control on work activities under Italian law – Legislative Decree September 14, 2015 N. 151 – require public authorisations or an agreement with the trade unions).

The Garante's press release on the authorisation is available here (Italian).

Submitted by Aldo Feliciani of Studio Legale Bonora e Associati – Milan, Italy in partnership with DAC Beachcroft LLP