How Long Can CCTV Footage Be Kept

CCTV footage has become an integral part of our lives. We see it everywhere – in malls, offices, homes, and even on the streets. It is a powerful tool that helps us to identify criminals, track suspicious activities and prevent crimes. However, with this power comes responsibility, especially when it comes to the retention of CCTV footage.

The question that arises is how long can CCTV footage be kept? The answer varies from country to country and depends on local laws and regulations. While some countries have strict rules about retaining CCTV footage for a limited period, others do not specify any particular timeline.

In this article, we will explore the different guidelines related to the retention of CCTV footage across various jurisdictions around the world.

Retention Guidelines In The United States

CCTV footage is an essential tool for security and surveillance purposes. However, the question of how long CCTV footage can be kept arises frequently.

In the United States, there are legal considerations that determine how long CCTV footage must be retained. One such consideration is data privacy laws. Businesses must follow specific guidelines when retaining CCTV footage to ensure they do not violate individuals’ privacy rights. These regulations vary depending on the state in which a business operates, but most require businesses to retain video footage for at least 30 days.

Another factor that determines CCTV retention guidelines in the US is federal law enforcement requirements. For instance, casinos must keep all recordings for up to six months according to IRS regulation. It’s worth noting that some states have extended periods of retention, with California requiring retailers to keep CCTV records for no less than ninety (90) days.

European Union regulations on CCTV footage retention also play a significant role in determining how long these videos should be kept by companies operating within its member states.

European Union Regulations On Cctv Footage Retention

The European Union has implemented regulations on the retention of CCTV footage to ensure data protection and privacy concerns are addressed. These regulations dictate how long businesses, organizations, and authorities can keep recorded footage in their systems.

  1. The maximum time allowed for storing CCTV footage is one month, except for exceptional circumstances where it may be necessary to retain the footage for a longer period.

  2. Businesses must provide clear notification about the use of CCTV cameras and obtain consent from individuals before recording them.

  3. Access to these recordings should only be granted to authorized personnel who require access as part of their job function or if there is an official request from law enforcement agencies.

  4. In case of any breaches, fines up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover (whichever is higher) may be imposed on non-compliant entities.

These regulations aim to balance the need for recording video surveillance with protecting individual rights and freedoms. As such, those responsible for handling CCTV footage have a legal obligation to follow strict procedures that safeguard personal information captured through these devices.

Moving forward, it’s important for all stakeholders involved in operating CCTVs within the EU region to familiarize themselves with these rules so they don’t breach them inadvertently and face dire consequences later on.

This brings us to discussing requirements for CCTV footage retention in Australia and how they compare with EU standards.

Requirements For Cctv Footage Retention In Australia

Now that we have discussed the importance of CCTV footage retention, let’s take a closer look at the legal considerations and storage solutions related to this practice in Australia.

When it comes to CCTV footage retention, there are several legal requirements set forth by the Australian government. For instance, businesses must inform individuals that they are being recorded and provide access to the footage upon request. Additionally, any collected data should be securely stored to prevent unauthorized access or use.

To comply with these regulations, many organizations invest in advanced storage solutions such as cloud-based systems or external hard drives. These methods not only ensure compliance but also provide additional benefits like remote access and backup capabilities.

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However, it is important to note that regardless of the chosen method, all stored data must remain secure for privacy reasons.

As we can see from the above discussion, retaining CCTV footage requires careful consideration of both legal obligations and technological solutions. While complying with these standards may seem daunting at first glance, investing in proper storage practices will ultimately benefit everyone involved – from business owners to customers alike.

In our next section, we will delve into time limits for retaining CCTV footage in Asia and how they compare to those in Australia.

Time Limits For Retaining Cctv Footage In Asia

In China, CCTV footage can be retained for up to 60 days.

Singapore has a 7-day limit, while India has a 30-day limit.

Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines allow for up to 60 days of retention.

Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Laos and other countries in Asia have varying regulations on the retention of CCTV footage.


If you’re a business owner in China, you may be wondering how long you need to keep CCTV footage. The answer is that it depends on the type of business and the location of your cameras.

In general, most businesses are required to store footage for at least 30 days under current CCTV regulations in China. However, some industries like finance or transportation may have longer retention periods.

While these regulations aim to improve public safety and prevent crime, they also come with potential consequences for businesses. Longer storage periods mean higher costs for data storage and more management efforts from companies. Furthermore, there are privacy concerns raised by people who feel uncomfortable being constantly monitored by surveillance systems.

Despite these challenges, many Chinese businesses still see CCTV as a necessary tool for security purposes. As technology advances and new laws emerge, it’s important for companies to stay up-to-date on their legal obligations while balancing customer trust and privacy protection.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between security and privacy will be key to building successful businesses in today’s world.


Moving on to Singapore, the country boasts a strong surveillance culture with its extensive use of CCTV cameras in public areas. However, this doesn’t mean that privacy laws are disregarded as it has strict regulations when it comes to retaining CCTV footage.

According to Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), organizations are only allowed to keep personal data for as long as necessary and have to dispose of them once they’re no longer needed. For CCTV footage specifically, the PDPA mandates that companies can only retain recordings for a maximum of 30 days unless there is an ongoing investigation or legal proceedings requiring the footage.

This ensures that businesses strike a balance between security and privacy concerns of their customers or employees. Penalties for non-compliance range from fines up to SGD 1 million and imprisonment.

Despite these stringent measures, some individuals remain wary of the pervasive nature of CCTV surveillance culture in Singapore. It raises questions about how much access businesses should be given into people’s private lives while still maintaining customer trust and safety standards.

As such, it underscores the importance of striking a balance between protecting both business interests and individual rights in today’s fast-paced world where technology continues to evolve rapidly.

Best Practices For Retaining Cctv Footage

When it comes to retaining CCTV footage, there are best practices that businesses and organizations should follow. One of the most important considerations is storage solutions.

It’s crucial to have a reliable and secure system in place for storing video data, as this ensures that the footage can be accessed if needed in the future. There are many options available when it comes to storing CCTV footage.

Some companies use cloud-based systems, while others prefer on-premise solutions. Whichever option you choose, make sure that your storage solution complies with industry standards for data protection. This includes encryption protocols and other security measures to prevent unauthorized access or tampering.

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Ultimately, the goal of retaining CCTV footage is not just about compliance – it’s also about protecting your business from liability and ensuring public safety. By following these best practices for storage and data protection, you can rest assured that your organization is doing its part to keep people safe and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens To Cctv Footage After The Retention Period Ends?

After the retention period ends, CCTV footage must be deleted or destroyed. Failure to do so can result in legal implications and violations of data privacy laws.

It’s important for businesses and organizations to properly manage their CCTV footage as it contains personal information that should not be kept longer than necessary. There are strict regulations regarding the collection, storage, and use of CCTV footage, so it’s crucial to understand these rules to avoid any potential legal issues.

Ensuring compliance with data privacy laws is essential for protecting both customers’ rights and a company’s reputation.

Can Cctv Footage Be Released To The Public?

CCTV footage can be released to the public, but it is subject to strict regulations and privacy concerns.

Public access must adhere to legal requirements, such as obtaining consent from those featured in the footage or redacting identifying information if necessary.

Concerns over privacy violations also come into play when releasing CCTV footage, particularly regarding sensitive locations like schools or hospitals.

Therefore, while technically possible to release CCTV footage to the public, it should only be done with proper consideration of both legal requirements and potential privacy concerns.

Are There Any Penalties For Not Following Cctv Footage Retention Guidelines?

If a company fails to follow CCTV footage retention guidelines, there can be legal consequences. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has the power to issue fines for breaches of data protection regulations, including failure to properly store and dispose of personal data captured by CCTV cameras.

As part of GDPR legislation introduced in 2018, companies must have clear policies on how long they keep surveillance footage and ensure that it is deleted once it is no longer needed. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in hefty penalties from the ICO, which can severely impact a business’s reputation as well as its finances.

How Can Individuals Request Access To Cctv Footage?

Individuals have the legal right to access CCTV footage when necessary.

To request access, they must follow certain procedures and provide appropriate identification.

However, it is important to note that those accessing footage also have legal obligations, such as protecting the privacy of others who may appear in the footage.

It is crucial for individuals to understand their rights and responsibilities before accessing any CCTV footage.

Is There A Way To Delete Or Erase Cctv Footage Before The Retention Period Ends?

Deleting or erasing CCTV footage before the retention period ends raises ethical considerations and potential data privacy concerns.

While it may seem convenient to delete footage that could potentially incriminate individuals, doing so without proper justification can lead to accusations of tampering with evidence.

Additionally, deleting footage prematurely can compromise the safety and security of those who rely on CCTV surveillance for protection.

Therefore, it is important to carefully consider the reasons for wanting to delete CCTV footage and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.


In conclusion, the length of time CCTV footage can be kept varies depending on location and specific regulations.

It is crucial for businesses to comply with retention guidelines to avoid legal repercussions and potential breach of privacy issues.

Individuals may also have the right to request access to CCTV footage, but it is important to note that not all requests will be granted.

Ultimately, understanding the rules around CCTV footage retention and access can help ensure safety while protecting individual rights.