Vumacam refutes allegations that they charge residents for camera installations

Vumacam said that the systems were installed because it was realised that there were a multitude of disparate CCTV solutions, often unconnected, and with ‘islands’ of uncovered suburbs adjacent to covered suburbs. Image: Facebook

Vumacam said when it contracts with third party entities who wish to monitor CCTV footage, those third parties must enter into detailed agreements and be POPIA compliant.

Vumacam has provided clarity and refuted the allegations made against them after a social media post which went viral on Facebook made Roodepoort residents very unhappy, Roodepoort Record reports.

Some residents took to social media and expressed their anger over the service, which they said charges them a hefty monthly service fee and uses residents’ electricity, putting households into a higher usage bracket. The system was even compared to the e-toll system.

Vumacam has now set the record straight, and stated that they do not charge any residents, nor do they enter into any contracts with residents.

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Vumacam management explained that the cameras have most often been commissioned on request from a security company, and are placed in locations determined in conjunction with the security company, to provide optimal coverage for security purposes.

Vumacam added that the systems were installed because it was realised that there were a multitude of disparate CCTV solutions, often unconnected, and with ‘islands’ of uncovered suburbs adjacent to covered suburbs.

“This left the various solutions disconnected and largely ineffective in tracking vehicles of interest, as they would disappear into a blind ‘island’ area. Vumacam also recognised that the Protection Of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA) would soon be implemented and it would be difficult to hold so many different entities to account,” said the company.

It further explained that the solutions were unmanaged, not maintained and there was often no awareness of whether the system was down until footage was required.

When Vumacam was asked whether their footage would be made available to residents, the company said, “The dissemination of the footage recorded by Vumacam on its CCTV network falls within the definition of ‘processing’ in terms of the POPIA. Accordingly, any sharing of footage by Vumacam is regulated by POPIA, and Vumacam and the party receiving the footage must comply with the numerous safeguards built into POPIA.” This is to ensure that no third party data subject’s rights are infringed.

Vumacam said when it contracts with third party entities who wish to monitor Vumacam CCTV footage, those third parties must enter into detailed agreements and show that they are, and will remain, compliant with the requirements of POPIA.

“Footage is never simply released by Vumacam without such assurances. One exception to the above is that any data subject may request access to any footage on which they have been captured (in terms of section 23 of POPIA), subject to compliance with the requirements of POPIA. Handing over footage to any third party can only be done where it is for a specific, explicitly defined lawful purpose,” said the company.

They concluded by saying that, “The recipient of such personal information would similarly be required to show that it complies with the provisions of POPIA relating to the protection, retention and destruction of such information (see sections 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19 and 22 as examples of some of the requirements with which any responsible party must comply).

With regards to the usage of residents electricity, Vumacam said they applied to City Power for power connections. It also stated that residents, security companies and Resident’s Associations who wanted to get their community smart camera network up and running engaged with Vumacam to look at the options available to them.

“Vumacam worked with their legal team to draw up an agreement for willing residents to become a power supplier. An annual agreement is formalised between Vumacam and the relevant homeowner, with respect to providing power to specific security camera sites. This is voluntary and is wholly up to a resident to decide whether or not they would like to aid in powering up a Vumacam pole,” said the company.

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