The Privacy Commissioner has released guidelines on the use of closed-circuit television systems (CCTV).

Announcing the new guidelines today, Commissioner Marie Shroff said the use of CCTV was proliferating, both in New Zealand and overseas.

"It seems that everywhere you look, someone has a camera trained on you.

"This raises questions such as what exactly the images are being used for, how secure they are from misuse or unauthorised viewing, whether the cameras are unnecessarily intrusive, and so on."

Ms Shroff said there was very little advice available to business and government, and the new guidelines would go some way to "filling that gap".

"CCTV has an important role to play in detecting and prosecuting crime, and even deterring some types of crime. But this does not need to be at the expense of privacy."

The new guidance offers practical advice on deciding whether CCTV is needed, planning the system properly, selecting the appropriate technology and positioning of cameras, making employees, customers and others aware that CCTV is operating, storing and retaining the images, and giving people access to images of them.

The information is available free of charge at www.privacy.org.nz.

- NZPA