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CCTV, Privacy and The Law

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 20 Sep 2016 | 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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[Add a Comment]
skinnyribs - Your Question:
Do you have to get permission from the landlord (Housing Association)to install cctv cameras on the outside of the flats?My neighbour has installed them without permission saying he has them pointed at the carpark despite not owning/using a car.He seems very paranoid and Im feeling very uncomfortable with his decisions.

Our Response:
yes - only your landlord is able to install CCTV on a communal car park and must put up notices to inform people of such.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Sep-16 @ 12:29 PM
Do you have to get permission from the landlord (Housing Association)to install cctv cameras on the outside of the flats?My neighbour has installed them without permission saying he has them pointed at the carpark despite not owning/using a car.He seems very paranoid and Im feeling very uncomfortable with his decisions.
skinnyribs - 20-Sep-16 @ 3:45 PM
My neighbour has put up cctv on the front of her house it looks like it's directed into my kitchen window as well I have a 11year old lad and I've called the police to ask them to check her camera as it's a violation of my privacy under the human rights act article 8and I have to safe guard my son as he's a minor and I do not want myself or family members filmed on cctv the police said it's nothing to do with them I've to go to a solicitoreven though the neighbour could be violating our privacy by filming us I thought it was against the law to do this and that I have a right to get police involved
Debs - 17-Sep-16 @ 4:32 PM
My neighbours keep throwing garden clippings and mud over the fence between us. I would like to gather CCTV evidence and present it to the police but I understand there could be privacy issues. I just want it to stop.
Al - 14-Sep-16 @ 1:59 PM
Bicquette - Your Question:
Our neighbours have 4 cctv pointing at our garden, and one at the back of his garden pointing to our back bedroom window. We do not talk as we are having a court dispute with them currently. We have involved the police, and requested that they check their CCTV. They refuse for the police to go in their house and check the camera. Police told us there was nothing else they could do as it was a civil matter and for us to take to court!.

Our Response:
Yes if the police cannot/are not willing to force access, you should consider taking it to court. A legal adviser will be able to tell you whether you will success and whether a case would be made under privacy laws or harassment legislation.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Sep-16 @ 12:32 PM
Our neighbours have 4 cctv pointing at our garden, and one at the back of his garden pointing to our back bedroom window. We do not talk as we are having a court dispute with them currently. We have involved the police, and requested that they check their CCTV. They refuse for the police to go in their house and check the camera. Police told us there was nothing else they could do as it was a civil matter and for us to take to court!..
Bicquette - 7-Sep-16 @ 1:40 PM
hello my neibour has just put up a cemera facing only our driveway not even facing his own property i believe this is just another thing he is useing to bully us into moving as he is abusive to all his neibours putting nails and screws in tires as a result we have purchased cameras and are planing to put them facing problem areas as he has also been dumping feces on our driveway aswell as throwing things over the fence i was wondering what can be done about this camera
geoff - 28-Aug-16 @ 12:23 PM
Can you have cctv if you live in a council house / housing association?
R124 - 24-Aug-16 @ 4:02 PM
A few moths ago my neighbour parked her car in the access way to public steps that run down the side of my garden to the road behind . apparently the side of the car got scratched , obviously by someone who wanted to use the steps but couldn't get past . Having come back from holiday only a few days ago we've noticed a cctv camera mounted on her house directly opposite the lane and my rear garden . Her house is slightly elevated to mine and on the opposite side of the road to me and the lane/access way ! As a consequence of this she can now see directly into my rear garden over my gates and no doubt hear everything we say when entering / leaving my property ... I planted a tree next to my driveway to try and give us as much privacy as possible as she is renowned locally for being very ignorant and extremely nosy ... My tree is now nothing more than an ornamentbecause she can see straight over it ! It's a complete invasion of privacy in my opinion ... It's like living in a goldfish bowl now ... This can't be legal surely ??? Any help and advice is much appreciated , there is no point in asking her to move it because all I'll get is sarcastic remarks , abuse and even laughed at by her ...????
Midge - 18-Aug-16 @ 11:51 AM
A neighbour has recently installed an industrial size security camera which I overheard his son say has a wide angle lens and can look into a window half a mile away. This overlooks the rear of my property and my back garden, it is scanning from side to side continuously. Is this an invasion of privacy.
Bazza - 15-Aug-16 @ 7:57 PM
My neighbors has cameras installed. 2 of which are either side of his front door meaning one seems to be pointing in direction to my front door. We live in flats and my property is the last one on the row. Is he okay to have these cameras pointing towards my door? I've asked him and he's saying the council have told him to install them and they are linked to the council but I've never been informed
KatieL - 9-Aug-16 @ 6:18 PM
I found a camera in my house, iv lived here for 14yrs and iv never used cameras, is it illegal for anyone to put camera in my house and why?? I'm very worried about this
Karen - 5-Aug-16 @ 7:11 AM
Dannii - Your Question:
We have never got in with our neighbours. In fact we have 2 fences separating us even though it is her boundary. The latest is that her fellas kids have started climbing up and staring into our garden and house and calling our dog obscenities. So much so that we cant let her out when the child is there. Today he has had a whip and thrashing that over our fence. What can we do?

Our Response:
If you're not willing to talk to the neighbours in person, contact your local police with regard to the damge being done by the child. There's not a great deal you can do about the child calling your dog names, but if you are unhappy with the language being used, the police or your police community support officer may also be able to help.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Aug-16 @ 10:47 AM
We have never got in with our neighbours. In fact we have 2 fences separating us even though it is her boundary. The latest is that her fellas kids have started climbing up and staring into our garden and house and calling our dog obscenities . So much so that we cant let her out when the child is there. Today he has had a whip and thrashing that over our fence. What can we do?
Dannii - 2-Aug-16 @ 2:23 PM
Can you aim cctv into public areas from a private property?
Herbert - 23-Jul-16 @ 5:46 PM
Can anyone have from there private house have cctv pointing into a public area ??
Herbert - 23-Jul-16 @ 5:45 PM
My mother in law lives in a row of 6 houses, she lives 3rd from right. There is a pathway and a big grass verge in front. She is being treated for cancer and also has arthritis in her spine so finds it hard to walk. So family members park on grass verge to drop her off and drop shopping off. They park there for max 20 mins. They neighbour right at the left end has cctv and keeps videoing us doing this and also our kids if they play on grass. He keeps calling the police and reporting us for parking there. He says cameras are there to protect his property so why are they pointing 4 houses down and watching what we're doing. Reported my husband on Sunday to police as we had to pick our dog up from her house. My husband has a blue badge as he's disabled and dog has broke her major ligament in back leg so had to pick her up into car. There is no signage to say you can't park on grass and it's not like we park there all day long. Not even any where near his property.
Donna - 21-Jul-16 @ 7:16 PM
My parents are getting divorced and my dad has installed a cctv in his bedroom and I only just found out about it after having spent a lot of times watching TV in their being filmed without my knowledge is this legal?
Cookie - 12-Jul-16 @ 10:16 PM
Janeyb - Your Question:
Our neighbours are very paranoid and have cameras front and back. Its the dome type black camera. The rear camera, in my opinion with no proof, can record the whole of my garden which I find very unnerving seen as we dont get on, my 2 girls play on the paddling pool at the back and the trampoline also. Theu have a video of me parking an inch past the fence from months ago so it is very unsettling wondering what other footage they might have of my girls playing in MY garden. Help! What can I do???

Our Response:
If you think your privacy is being invaded you can contact your local police and ask them to take a look at the positioning of the CCTV.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Jul-16 @ 2:17 PM
Our neighbours are very paranoid and have cameras front and back. Its the dome type black camera. The rear camera, in my opinion with no proof, can record the whole of my garden which i find very unnerving seen as we dont get on, my 2 girls play on the paddling pool at the back and the trampoline also. Theu have a video of me parking an inch past the fence from months ago so it is very unsettling wondering what other footage they might have of my girls playing in MY garden. Help! What can i do???
Janeyb - 10-Jul-16 @ 2:51 PM
Tevionfox- Your Question:
A person on our estate has three cameras in two upstairs rooms. They clearly are filming beyond his promise but claims it's for home security. Although I am a law abiding citizen I do feel like I'm under scrutiny every time I park in the shared car park. I wouldn't even mind if he had said it was to film his own car. But he doesn't even own one. Is there anything that can be done?

Our Response:
You can ask the local police to take a look at the positioning of the cameras as you'll see from other responses.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Jul-16 @ 2:08 PM
A person on our estate has three cameras in two upstairs rooms. They clearly are filming beyond his promise but claims it's for home security. Although I am a law abiding citizen I do feel like I'm under scrutiny every time I park in the shared car park. I wouldn't even mind if he had said it was to film his own car. But he doesn't even own one. Is there anything that can be done?
Tevionfox - 6-Jul-16 @ 5:34 PM
I live in a block of flats (16 flats) in one block, can the council put up cctv right outside your front door??
Don't have 1 - 5-Jul-16 @ 1:05 PM
I live in a sheltered scheme we are all having problems with this particular neighbour which involves harassment. She bullies and harasses the elderly and she is much younger. She has put 2 CCTV cameras overlooking the communal area facing some bungalows. When police come she said it was to look at her car which is parked a fair way but her camera is pointing on the public footpath she can see when we come and go also its high up over a neighbours front garden is she allowed to do this just because her car is in the car park. This is an excuse as its I feel a way for her to be a peeping tom
Aggy - 2-Jul-16 @ 8:10 PM
Nikki - Your Question:
I live in a block of 6 flats 3 up 3 down my upstairs neighbour has just put up 2 cctv cameras that records sound pouring at my door and every one else's in a comunual area what action can I take to get these removed as I feel this is a breach of my human rights to privacy

Our Response:
Speak to your landlord first of all. If that is unsuccessful you could try your local police.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Jun-16 @ 11:27 AM
I live in a block of 6 flats 3 up 3 down my upstairs neighbour has just put up 2 cctv cameras that records sound pouring at my door and every one else's in a comunual area what action can i take to get these removed as I feel this is a breach of my human rights to privacy
Nikki - 28-Jun-16 @ 8:11 PM
This morning I have find my neighbour Putcamera around and front of house as well he can wach us..his living in ground floor I living in1st floor What he did is legal to do this?
Alex - 26-Jun-16 @ 10:28 PM
im living in a private rented property with my two boys, just notice the landlord is installing cctv at the front of the property he didn't say anything to me at all. Couple of month ago someone throw somethingl and broke a window. Is this legal.l
angie - 26-Jun-16 @ 5:03 PM
My elderly neighbours clearly don't want to get on with me as they have never attempted to communicate with me for any reason..however theve complained to the council about people who visit my property and park Thier vehicle outside my house they seem to think this obstructs Thier drive way..theve installed a cctv camera over looking Thierry property wich is totally legal but theve also installed 1 round the back of the property but is clearly over looking my garden and back gate so they can see my comings and goings and I find this very frustrating is this legal for them to do this.
Rachyb - 25-Jun-16 @ 2:32 PM
Cswallow0425 - Your Question:
My kitchen over looks a car park that residents of the 8 flats where I live park and have access to. There is one resident who keeps scraping everyone's cars so I'd like to setup a camera from the kitchen looking onto the car park to actually capture it happening for insurance purposes. Ive been hit with a repair bill as I have no proof of this persons bad parking although we all know who's doing it. Do I need all residents permission to do this?

Our Response:
yes you'd need consent form the landowner/landlord.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Jun-16 @ 12:20 PM
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