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Release of train CCTV could breach Data Protection Act

02 September 2016 #Employment

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is looking into a possible breach of the Data Protection Act by Virgin Trains when it released CCTV footage from one of its trains following Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that he was unable to find a seat.

On 11th August, Jeremy Corbyn made a recording of himself sitting on the floor of a Virgin Train carriage claiming that the train was ram-packed.

Virgin Trains hit back with CCTV footage of Corbyn passing a number of empty seats on the train before willingly sitting on the floor. However, Virgin may have acted too hastily as the ICO are now investigating whether the release of this feed breaches data protection laws.

An image of a person on CCTV can constitute personal data and thus needs to be processed in accordance with the strict principles laid down in the Data Protection Act. This includes the requirement that the processing of data is fair and lawful.

No doubt, Virgin will seek to argue that it considered the publication necessary to rebut negative comments and postings made publicly by Corbyn, however, whether the ICO will be on board with this – only time will tell!    

For factsheets, letters, policies and checklists on data protection please visit

For further information on complying with the Data Protection Act or protecting your business against ICO investigations please contact our employment lawyers on

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Louise Keenan

Louise Keenan

T: 0118 960 4614
M: 0779 900 7325


Employment team
+44 (0)118 958 5321