Fears ‘secret cameras’ put up as part of A96 dualling project in Moray may have broken data rules

The A96 near Lhanbryde.
The A96 near Lhanbryde.

Concerns have been raised that roads bosses may have breached privacy laws by installing “secret cameras” on a busy north-east trunk route.

Transport Scotland put up the equipment near Alves as part of the dualling project for the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road.

The footage has been used to monitor the number of vehicles using the A96 and nearby roads at particular times. The locations of the surveys are kept secret in order to ensure people do not change their habits as a result.

However, complaints have arisen about a lack of signs being put in place to warn people about images being recorded on the stretch between Elgin and Forres, on the grounds that such recording breaches data protection rules.

Data rules require agencies to put up notifications where recording equipment is being used, with contact details should members of the public have questions about them.

The transport body last night said that the contractors hired to perform the filming “assured them” that such signs were erected.

And it argued that the purpose of the footage was not to identify vehicles, while stressing that procedures are in place to ensure any recording is securely stored and deleted promptly after use.

However, concerns have been raised from locals about cameras being installed without notification.

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One said: “The worry is that if it has happened here, then it could be happening everywhere along the A96 dualling route. It’s creepy if nothing else.

“I would have assumed they have been in breach of the law and are not compliant with data protection rules and should be legally due to report it.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We take the privacy of individuals seriously and take appropriate action to safeguard against data protection risks during such surveys.

“This equipment was only in operation in each location for a few days during the recent survey period and was removed once the surveys were completed.

“In order to be transparent and to follow best practice, Transport Scotland requires signage to be displayed by our contractors when video footage is being captured and our contractors have assured us the signage was erected for the surveys.”

The agency has confirmed that it will not report the incident to The Information Commissioner’s Office, which ensures data is stored in accordance with the law.