Qatar steps up enforcement of CCTV surveillance law
With reporting from Ankita Menon
Qatar’s Ministry of Interior is apparently stepping up enforcement of a law that requires businesses around the country to install closed-circuit camera surveillance on their premises.
Law No. 9 of 2011 mandates that surveillance cameras be installed in residential compounds, hospitals, malls, banks, hotels, warehouses and other locations, and is enforced by the MOI’s Security Systems Department (SSD).
The SSD was not immediately available for comment, but Qatar Tribune reports that the MOI has recently made the widespread installation of these cameras a priority.
Speaking to Doha News, a staffer at Lulu Hypermarket on D-Ring said that the store was previously told to install CCTV in its parking lot, but has now been asked to increase the number of cameras to cover the entire parking area.
Meanwhile, an employee at Lulu Gharafa said they are still in the process of installing some 300 ministry-approved cameras, following an instruction from last year. When asked why the extra surveillance was needed, he said it could help aid police investigations into incidents such as thefts from vehicles.
Additionally, the Peninsula reports the owner of a jewelry shop in the Gold Souq as saying:
“This year when I went for company registration renewal was asked of CCTV cameras are installed. Also inspectors are supposed to come to our shops and inspect if the surveillance cameras are functioning properly.
There are only very few places from which we should buy the CCTV cameras, they are very expensive and it cost me more than QR60,000 to purchase and fix the surveillance system,” he added.
However, City Center mall’s director told Doha News that though the SSD consistently comes to inspect the surveillance system, there have been no new requests for additional cameras in the past few months.
A law governing the use of CCTV surveillance was passed in 2011. According to the legislation:
- Businesses must have a control room and operate surveillance 24/7;
- Recordings must be kept for 120 days, and cannot be altered before being handed over to competent government departments upon request;
- Recording is prohibited in bedrooms, patient rooms, toilets and changing rooms for women; and
- Those who violate the law could face up to three years in jail and fines of QR50,000, as well as the suspension or cancellation of their business license.
Last year, the law was brought back into the spotlight when the Supreme Council of Health reminded healthcare facilities to comply with the legislation and install cameras within three months, or face the loss of their business licenses.