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CCTV, Privacy and The Law

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 Nov 2020 | comments*Discuss
Cctv The Law Data Protection Act Cctv

Wherever we go about our daily business in the UK these days, it appears that we will never be too far away from being captured on CCTV. For most law abiding citizens, this rarely presents a problem. We have come to recognise CCTV as almost part and parcel of our daily lives.

Many people welcome CCTV on the streets of our towns and cities in the fight against crime. It can also help to secure the convictions of criminals who might have otherwise been able to go about their business and remain undetected.

The Laws Relating to CCTV

The main laws governing the installation and use of CCTV is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998, but this only applies to businesses and organisations and NOT to domestic property. It’s crucial that people recognise that distinction. If you’re concerned about a company’s use of CCTV, that’s a matter for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to deal with under the statutes that have been laid out under the Data Protection Act.

Is it Legal?

Yes, it is perfectly legal as long as due care is taken. Most people who choose to install CCTV at home do so primarily to deter would-be intruders from trespassing onto or breaking into their homes, and this is completely legitimate.

You cannot stop your neightbour from installing a CCTV system or from operating any kind of video recording device, such as a camcorder. For example, Using CCTV At Home can often help police secure a conviction for crimes that have been committed, such as a theft of a car parked outside your home or to identify individuals who are engaging in Anti-Social Behaviour.

That said, in such cases, the CCTV system you might have at home is more likely to act as a deterrent. This is simply because in a residential area would-be criminals are likely to be far more aware of residential CCTV installations, and so are more likely to avoid doing anything which might contravene the law.

In cases of people who are able to provide video evidence of crimes or acts of anti-social behaviour being committed outside their own homes, that will usually come about as a result of some covert filming using a camcorder or digital camera.

When you could be Breaking the Law for Having CCTV at Home

While home installation of CCTV does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Data Protection Act, if the home installation has not been carried out correctly or is being used for a purpose other than for which it was designed, then you may have a case for taking further action under totally different laws.

For example, if you have a camera which is pointed directly at another person’s property or it’s suspected that it can capture part or all of a neighbour’s property, they might have a case to take action against you under legislation covered by the Human Rights Act. They might have sufficient grounds to say that they have had their privacy violated, that your CCTV system is tantamount to harassment and even voyeurism.

In such cases, they can get the police involved if you're not able to come to some agreement with regards to what the camera(s) can capture and to make modifications to the installation, if necessary.

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walker - 13-Nov-20 @ 9:19 AM
I have a few neighbors with camera pointing at a public park which the property I live at is connected to its also pointing at my back garden leading into the park they also install lights which they use every time I walk my dog, I feel these devices are used to watch me making it awkward for me to use my back gate any advice would be helpful
Ash - 10-Nov-20 @ 6:21 PM
I live in a private rented property, it has ten flats all owned by same landlord. The building next to us is where the care taker for our building lives, he is a busy body and has installed cameras in random areas outside the property.I know for security landlords are allowed to this but my issue is, is that the caretaker views this footage not the landlord and the caretaker only lives next door for crying out loud. Also, we have never been told about them i have found them.Any advice please.
Demip07 - 3-Nov-20 @ 9:06 PM
I live on a road facing a end terraced wall the person who lives on the end terrorist has installed to CCTV at the front of his house and 2 on the end terraced wall one that points going up the road and one that is pointing directly at my house I have asked the neighbour for likely not to point the camera at my house he told me to f off as it's none of my business what rights does he have he is also spying and creating drama with other neighbours
Meh - 2-Nov-20 @ 10:30 PM
I seen a person next door throwing a large top of a garden heater over my fence trying to break my water fountain, only breaking some ornaments, this was on my CCTV system. I put this on my local Facebook page , naming the house where it came from but not naming the woman, the police came and said it was an offence, but said on this occasion there be no action , is this illegal or legal , and if it is an offence is it useless to have CCTV.
. - 1-Nov-20 @ 7:57 PM
Most of the issues people are having with neighbours potentially spying on them would come under ASB law.Report your issues to your local district/borough council ASB team as they have powers under the Anti Social Behaviour Crime and Police Act 2014.
FrankZ - 16-Oct-20 @ 4:33 PM
Independent Living flats. A resident has put a camera on her front door. It takes pictures of everyone that passes by and goes to her phone and daughter's . Is this legal?
AVMA - 13-Oct-20 @ 12:22 PM
My neighbours put up a camera and said to another it will help protect us! I'm 32 and don't need protection I'm so tempted to demand to see what it shows or take it down!
CONBALLS - 12-Oct-20 @ 1:07 AM
across the road from where I live a neighbour has installed CCTV on the side wall of the end of his premises however the CCTV is pointing directly at my top bedroom window and promises I have asked him to remove the positioning of his CCTV however he refuses to and when it's reported to the police he gets that position changed and thenpositions it back to viewing my premises.he told me the council has given him permission however I don't believe he has permission to point it directly at my promises and invading my privacy I asked him why he's replied was white what you have to hide and told me to piss off how do I report this person he has two cameras pointing from his top upper window to the front of his premises he's house is that end house so on the side of the end house wall he installed another two cameras one I understand is pointing to his back garden however the one on the top right is pointing directly on my promises if he was using this camera for protection it should be pointing downwards at the road which then I don't have a problem with but it's a 360-degree camera and is pointing directly at my house and my top bedroom window can you advise me on what to do
Lou - 20-Sep-20 @ 1:45 AM
My family is getting harassed by next door neighbour since January this year. Police have been informed but didn't do nothing. One car blowed up, another one catch up fire within 3 weeks and this neighbour asked us "if we enjoy what's going on with our cars because he does". Still no issue for police, constantly making pictures or videos with us or our children playing on the front. Last Thursday he installed cctv which is set up on our front garden and our cars. Admitted to it, police doesn't see any issue with it even after report to ICO we have message from ICO "is criminal matter, you should contact police" . My husband and me suffering with PTSD, anxiety and depression i also have adjustment disorder, police told us our mental health is not their issue too. Kids are watched straight from front door or conservatory when playing outside and they are scared as well but is still not issue because he didn't touch them (yet). It is anyone who would help please?
melimoo - 30-Aug-20 @ 10:49 PM
Hey, can anyone help? My parents have left for a weekend away and left a camera facing directly at my room to spy on me, to make sure my bf is not staying (pathetic I know) I’m in my 20s. I received atext earlier ‘ I can see you’ve been hoovering’ my mum was laying hints that she would be seeing everything I do which I thought was a joke. I was Also hoovering in my room. It’s a motion sensory one. My room is also next to the bathroom so I usual just nip to the bathroom naked. There will be these images on that memory card and in there phone. Please can someone point me in the right direction to know what rights I have. I’ve tried researching but it’s mainly ‘neighbours’ Thankyou
K128 - 15-Aug-20 @ 1:22 AM
In my flat parking,Istfloor,2nd floor,terrace had a CCTV cameras my neighbour alone had the user ID & password.they are monitoring the tenants 24/7 and noticing our privacy.In this quarantine time we can't spend much time on terrace,parking anywhere else.Our house owners is not a problem.but this neighbour trying to torturing us by monitoring 24/7.Even relatives not allowed ,me and my daughter literally worried to get out the entrance.how can i really handle this situation?
prema - 13-Aug-20 @ 5:54 AM
I have a camera that i had mounted on the outside of my house it points at my front path leading to my front door. it also picks up a small section of the road and pathway outside my house. i yave been reported to the police and they came out today and looked at the footage and stated that it Does NOT impede any other property but advised me to have the camera pointing in a lower position. is my camera illegal?
milko68 - 10-Aug-20 @ 11:40 AM
Is anyone able to help or advise me. My parents & i are not on speaking terms even though we all live together. Today i noticed they have set up a camera in the lounge of our house pointing towards the front door & hallway. Can they do this? Is it illegal?
Knappi91 - 1-Aug-20 @ 11:28 PM
Hi, i live in a block of flats, with 4 floors and 8 flats, my upstair neighbour has 2 cameras up, 1 at kitchen window, and 1 living room window,!! Are they allowed to do that, as i and also other neighbours in the block feel so uncomfortable as none of us know why they been put up,!I have 7 grand children that play outside everyday and also other kids in the block , myself and other parents dont want our kids to be videod by the them, . Is there anything we can do about this.
Franny - 17-Jul-20 @ 4:11 AM
On Sunday my neighbour threatened me to get out of my house. Then sometime in this week she’s put a cctv up and filming my garden and also the street. Now it’s get frustrating and harassmentcant put washing out and the landlord be wanting the garden to clean up. Also my daughter scared to go out intimidating now
Sarah - 10-Jul-20 @ 10:30 PM
I live in a eight storey block of flats.i am on ground floor.can i put security camers up outsidemy flat and inside by my front door.has i am a council tenant. Has just need to know before putting them up? Has i am not allowed to plant anythingunder my bedroom windows.just wanted to know if this would be wrong of me to do aswell.i am trying to look after my council flat.but council keep refusing to let me do things.need advice please
Milktray - 8-Jul-20 @ 8:55 PM
I live on the corner house of a street which through crime now has huge high grade cctv facing up my street but like I said I live on the corner and if the cameras are facing up my street there facing into my garden and house
Sharks - 6-Jul-20 @ 11:57 PM
This article not fully correct on the information it's giving, rules clarified though by poster Alina Brunetti - well done.
duinmehedin - 22-Jun-20 @ 8:17 PM
Our Apartment is 4flats on each floor (Total floor 4 ) people want to install CCTV in building premises, against which i said NO from my end. This expense we have to pay extra other than maintenanace, so my question was i said No for installation of CCTV, so can they force me to CONTRIBUTE for the same even though my opinion is NO
mann - 9-Jun-20 @ 6:59 AM
I too have a neighbour pointing cameras at my back yard,its like being in big brother
rosy - 31-May-20 @ 9:13 AM
i live in a block off flats an the backgarden isnt used in the summer because off a man who lives two rows across with cameras covering the back an i dont like the feeling off being watched
jj - 20-Apr-20 @ 4:08 PM
I live in a Mews apartment . There are 12 Mews of which has a ground floor & 1st floor apartment .. 6 Mews opposite each other. One of the apartments ( lived in by tenants)on the 1st floor opposite me ( I own)has a cctv which films all thecoming & going of everyone in all the apartments . The cctv is pointing towards my apartment & I feel I’m being watch 24hrs a day. I’ve also spoken with other residents & owners & they’re of the same option. I have a small garden which is also in view of the cctv. Can I / we ask for the camera to be removed. The landlord of the offending apartment does care as long as he’s getting his rent.
Andy - 15-Mar-20 @ 9:47 PM
I have an indoor camera pointing to my car and as a deterrent as I have problems with anti social behaviour. They have cameras hidden taking photos videos for their own perusal. Yet the police take their side. My camera does not cover property...can the police/housing association make me remove ut6
Laynie - 11-Mar-20 @ 1:30 PM
Someone in my street has CCTV and has been recording my home I live on the opposite side 50 metres away from themwhat is my rights is he breaking the law
Lola - 28-Jan-20 @ 10:52 AM
Someone was in my street has CCTV on there home they the opposite side of me 10 doors down they have 3 cameras 1 pointing down1 acrossthe street and 1 pointing up which is angled across to my home is this right . I have been told that they have recordings of us coming in and out of my home
Lisa - 24-Jan-20 @ 8:26 PM
My neighbour directly next door videos from her phone my children outside the front as well as any visitors that come and go from my home. When asked about it she denies it. I’m at the end of my tether and reported to police but her mental health allows her to get away with this. I don’t get why.
Em - 13-Jan-20 @ 12:15 PM
My neighbour has cctv installed at side of his house. He watches us go in and out of our house all day and night making us feel uneasy when passing. He then comes knocking every so often accusing me of doing something to his property or his cars. Sometimes he is aggressive. Can I get the authorities to remove his cctv cameras?
Not happy - 4-Jan-20 @ 11:28 PM
Hi! My landlord want to instal Cctv around the house that I leave. I am more concern about from the garden where me and my family we use to stay in summer (in swimsuit) I don’t like the idea to someone can watch me online anytime and check what and when I am doing!! Thanks
Rob - 18-Dec-19 @ 5:37 PM
Hello, I do have a neighborhood, who has a dome CCTV for many years since I moved there. However there have been some stuff that have happened and I'm sure, he looks at other neighbors. Dome CCTV view are wide and can access other properties and people, this type of CCTV are the one used by businesses especially retail. I don,t know what to do here, help please.
FreedomToLive - 26-Nov-19 @ 1:01 PM
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