Body Cameras for Debt Enforcement Executives
We recently learned that the Enforcement and Collection Authority is planning to promote a body camera project for debt collection and enforcement executives. This is an important initiative that may be beneficial in protecting debtors’ rights, and preventing unnecessary instances of violence and friction in these highly charged and sensitive situations. At the same time, filming debtors via body cameras inherently infringes upon their right to privacy, especially when it comes to accessing their private property, including their residences. This violation is exacerbated by the fact that debt collection is carried out by private entities, and not directly by a public authority. Authorizing private entities to film people within their home in moments of distress and crisis is no small matter. Thus, in order for filmed documentation to be used to protect debtors and their rights, and ensure that their privacy is not excessively violated, the use of body cameras must be regulated and overseen through detailed directives.
In our appeal to the Enforcement and Collection Authority’s legal advisor, ACRI Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo and Attorney Reut Cohen of the Clinic for Human Rights in Society at the University of Haifa outlined a set of principles and regulations to prevent the misuse of filmed documentation, protect debtors’ privacy, and ensure supervision and control over the use of cameras. Among other things, law enforcement executives’ authority to film encounters with debtors must be legislatively enshrined; the debtor must be informed of the camera; consent must be verified and documented, and without consent, filming must cease; the original undoctored filmed materials must immediately be transferred to the Authority following the debt collection, and no additional copy may be retained by anyone, including the enforcement executive; the executive may not be granted any access whatsoever to the filmed materials; the documentation must be kept for a limited period and deleted thereafter.