Mass Surveillance


Solicitor who specialises in data protection Fred Logue tweetz:

This has to be the maddest thing ever. I would say none of these people know that CCTV is live streaming from this church.

Webcam – Portlaoise Parish

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36 thoughts on “Mass Surveillance

    1. Rob_G

      And a lot of the key demographic of the RCC are too elderly and infirm to attend mass, so they can just watch along at home. I’d say nearly every church has it at this stage.

      – surely a solicitor who specialises in data protection would know that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place?

      1. Batty Brennan

        Is a place of worship a public place? Who decides?
        If it’s a public place, do the public have an implied right of access?
        If so, does that right extend to all places of worship?
        Who decides?

        1. The Old Boy

          No. Services of the Church of Ireland are referred to as public worship, a status which they held legally before disestablishment but are no longer so defined. In all other cases, they are private affairs on private property and subject to the same rules as other private places to which the public are admitted for a particular purpose, such as shops and cafés.

          1. Rob_G

            Private property does not negate somewhere being a ‘public place’; a person in the lobby of a hotel or in a department store does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and you take photos of them if you wished (though indeed the management might ask you to stop. Given that it’s the church’s own camera, would not seem to apply here).

          2. The Old Boy

            They are not public places Rob. What you say in terms of data protection and privacy is broadly correct, but even a public bar is not a public place.

  1. Operatick

    There is a livestream of kids filing into the church at the moment. I wonder did the parents all agree to this? You can hear the musicians blathering and all.

    1. Rob_G

      If one were a randomer who walked in off the street, you would be able to observe all of these things as well. If there is a sign as you go in informing people that streaming is taking place, the church is probably covered.

      1. Cian

        GDPR is a funny one.
        You probably need ask and record consent for this sort of thing. A sign may not be sufficient.

          1. Cian

            Are they streaming the video across the whole internet? Or recording locally, and not being kept for more than a few days.

            There is a difference.

          2. Rob_G

            If you are going into an event that is being broadcast, such as a concert or sports game, written consent isn’t required, beyond the organisers sticking up some notices.

            What can be viewed by anyone on the internet can also be viewed by anyone who decided to wander in off the street and take a look; there is not an expectation to privacy in a public place like this.

          3. Cian

            If you go to an event that is being broadcast it is generally part of the contract of buying a ticket.

            e.g. Ticketmaster: “10.9 By attending an event, you and other patrons consent to being photographed, filmed and/or recorded and may be featured as members of the audience in any resulting photographs, footage or recordings.”

            You don’t buy a ticket for mass.

  2. garthicus

    Yes, I’ve ‘watched’ a funeral of an old school teacher that I wasn’t able to attend in person, it’s also nice for family/friends from abroad who can’t make it to a wedding/funeral.

  3. Father Filth

    Oh my, someone’s in for a shock..

    This could be an all hands open approach?

    ..or just tech ignorance, hard to tell.

    I’ve been browsing cameras from around the world at and a very high proportion of Irish cameras are Church feeds. This has been the case for years.

    Farmers and Pubs aren’t far behind.

    I feel there’ll be an emotive Irish tabloid article about the above site, after a tabloid hack becomes aware of it!

    Very few people change the webcam password from the default. A lot of webcams also have hardwired backdoors which make the user password useless.. no brand is immune to this, regardless of price.

    I want to visit Cavan town, the webcam of the high street always makes it look busy and rather twee!

  4. Slightly Bemused

    I know a few churches that have similar streaming systems. One of the instigations, sadly, was a series of thefts and damages to the altar and statuetry. However, it has since become popular for many of the reasons outlined above: ability for distant relatives and friends to attend events such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms.

  5. Joe Small

    Why does Fred Logue think that’s the “maddest thing ever”? Does he want to stop elderly parishioners watching mass because of GDPR? God bless solicitors.

    1. Father Filth

      Just to add to that, if a church is a public place, things only get complicated if you’re recording and storing video on site. I think you’re limited to 14-15 days now, before the recordings become a possible liability to the camera owner.

      See my links above, 24/7 Live Churches, erotic OAP cabaret..

    2. Clampers Outside

      He thinks it’s mad because he likely ever goes to mass and just stumbled across this on the web, and it being something new to him, he thinks it’s “mad”….. or so I reckon.

  6. Clampers Outside

    I’ve been to mass on occasion, in support of my Mum and Dad, and have heard the priest often telling the parishioners there is a live broadcast of the mass.
    Does this legal eagle go to mass, does he know that such announcements are made, or is he just looking for something to whine about? I reckon it’s the latter.

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