Video surveillance and access control at CERN

CERN has installed video surveillance cameras and access control systems on its site for the protection of people and property.

You will certainly have noticed the video cameras installed in several buildings at CERN and along its roads. Spread across the 200 hectares of CERN’s fenced site, these cameras protect sensitive areas, as well as remote facilities that are not staffed by the security teams. The images they record are normally kept for one year.

Almost 7000 people enter the CERN site every day and the Organization welcomes 120,000 visitors and hosts 150 protocol visits each year. With so many people on site, CERN took the decision to install more effective surveillance systems to protect both people and property. This decision was also prompted by the increase in the number of thefts in recent years.

The decision was taken after extensive consideration and following discussion between several groups at CERN, in particular the BE, HR, IT and SMB departments and the DG unit (including the Legal Service). CERN is conscious of the fact that video surveillance raises questions about the protection of personal data. The importance that the Organization attaches to this subject explains why the Security Service will be one of the first services at CERN to publish its own “Service Privacy Notice”, a document that will inform you of your rights with respect to video surveillance and access control, and that will describe how the Security Service handles your personal data1.

Regarding video surveillance, CERN follows these basic principles:

  • Necessity and proportionality: the installation of a video surveillance and access control system is an essential addition to the tools that are already available to the Guards Service with a view to guaranteeing the protection of people and property at CERN. Video surveillance is part of CERN’s overall safety and security policy and is adapted and limited to requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  • Transparency: visible and easily recognisable pictograms (see below) are gradually being installed at the site entrances and in certain buildings. In addition, the “Service Privacy Notice” contains information about video surveillance, access control and vehicle flow control systems, as well as your entitlement to access the data held by such systems.
  • Responsibility: CERN’s Director-General is responsible for CERN’s video surveillance and access control systems. The Head of the Safety Service is responsible for ensuring the proper and compliant use of the system and the data it collects. In collaboration with the Legal Service and the Office of Data Privacy Protection (ODPP), he or she defines the security protocols needed to protect the images stored (for the purposes of recording, use and transmission). The BE-ICS group is responsible for the technical equipment and its protection. This includes ensuring the capture of usable images and secure data transmission and storage. The IT department is responsible for the security of the data storage system. Among other things, this guarantees the protection of personal data. These groups guarantee that CERN’s video surveillance equipment is used in accordance with the applicable legislation, in particular the laws concerning the privacy and fundamental freedoms of those present on the CERN site. If you have any questions on this point, please contact the Office of Data Privacy Protection.

This pictogram is displayed at the site entrances and in certain buildings.

Only video surveillance systems installed by the Security Service are permitted on the CERN site. The installation or use of video surveillance outside this framework is not permitted.


1In the framework of establishing an internal policy for the protection of personal data, which in particular will involve the publication of an Operational Circular, each service will be required to produce its own “Privacy Notice”. This policy is based on best practice and on recommendations from other intergovernmental organisations, CERN’s Host States and the European Union.