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CCTV, Privacy and The Law

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 12 Sep 2021 | 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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My neighbours across from the courtyard(we live in a townhouse complex block) have had a cctv ,I hit up the housing about this and said they will look in to it,To which they said it's been approved and assure me it's not looking into my house or lounge room,I asked them nicely it annoys me and makes me feel on edge( I suffer anxiety depression and a paranoid personality disorder) and could they take it down or move it out of site from where I can't see it,They said to bad it's here to stay and that it's for security reasons to make the place more safer and to deter of thieves ,I have lived here ten years never any break Ins or any trouble,These two have lived here only 3 years now and since they've moved in I have had numerous noise complaints and an attitude from them,I feel this is a form of harrassment from them towards me,By messing with my mental health by putting up this camera gossiping about me to other neighbours and making silly complaints about me,I'm so lost as in what to do,I've put up a curtain over my door to stop them looking in but I feel like I'm trapped in my own home and can't open my door in the summer,
Chaz - 12-Sep-21 @ 10:20 AM
The need full power again and stop being scared man up to the thugs the are are more drinking in the gardens in groups and drugs on going till early in the morning
Harold street - 8-Sep-21 @ 12:20 PM
I am living in a rented property with 2 single men and a couple. The couple put cctvs(Maybe other survelleiance devices too) everywhere inside and outside the property(Parking space, entrance also where letters are put at and backyard) The cctvs have image and audio recording. They also watch and record outside the boundary of the shared property such as footpaths, public streets and neighbours properties. The cctvs are also put without the landlord's permission and knowledge(Since the landlord did not give permission. I know of this since the landlord told me about 1 year ago) Although, he is aware of them now) I feel very very very uncomfortable, no privacy, no personal space and am unpeaceful and unhappy(This is partly also because I am a privacy person) The housemates have many times said things such as I see, I know you come down how many times to check your posts, you dry your clothes in the backyard and when you cough and sneeze etc) Latest update:3 days ago, the landlord's worker said to my housemates(The workers talk in a way where I will know), "Is he(They also use he when describing me) still living here? Something about the cctvs(Sounds raising the security), if leaves and takes out his bags, break down his door and call the police". I suspect the reason they say all these is because they think and fear that I will leave the property and not pay for rent and wall redecoration for the mould I cause in the room. The couple are very very very troublesome, busybodies and fast to judge. The next day, they were talking, verbally abusing, insulting and threaning me with police and many things in the backyard. In the past, I have many times wanted to complain about them to the ICO and police but did not because of the relationship "we had"(It is bad now). I am going to move out of the property in several weeks. What does everyone say about this?
Troublesome and busy - 27-Aug-21 @ 9:13 PM
I am living in a rented property with 2 single men and a couple. The couple put cctvs(Maybe other survelleiance devices too) everywhere inside and outside the property(Parking space, entrance also where letters are put at and backyard) The cctvs have image and audio recording. They also watch and record outside the boundary of the shared property such as footpaths, public streets and neighbours properties. The cctvs are also put without the landlord's permission and knowledge(Since the landlord did not give permission. I know of this since the landlord told me about 1 year ago) Although, he is aware of them now) I feel very very very uncomfortable, no privacy, no personal space and am unpeaceful and unhappy(This is partly also because I am a privacy person) The housemates have many times said things such as I see, I know you come down how many times to check your posts, you dry your clothes in the backyard and when you cough and sneeze etc) Latest update:3 days ago, the landlord's worker said to my housemates(The workers talk in a way where I will know), "Is he(They also use he when describing me) still living here? Something about the cctvs(Sounds raising the security), if leaves and takes out his bags, break down his door and call the police". I suspect the reason they say all these is because they think and fear that I will leave the property and not pay for rent and wall redecoration for the mould I cause in the room. The couple are very very very troublesome, busybodies and fast to judge. The next day, they were talking, verbally abusing, insulting and threaning me with police and many things in the backyard. In the past, I have many times wanted to complain about them to the ICO and police but did not because of the relationship "we had"(It is bad now). I am going to move out of the property in several weeks. What does everyone say about this?
Troublesome and busy - 27-Aug-21 @ 9:12 PM
I Live In rented property a housing association flat my elderly neighbour has caused me, my family especially my 18 year old son so much trouble, so many problems from assaulting me more than twice, to Lying about my son, my partner to phoning social services on the people who used to Live above us blaming me for social services being Involved In they're Lives, she's threatened us on numerous occasions she's shouted, screamed In my sons face terrified him she's pretended to be me on the phone complaining about her, she pretended to be a friend of ours reporting her to the police. She Bangs on the walls blames us, Bangs on her front, back windows blames us. We were told wecouldn't, wouldn't be able to put a camera up above our front door cause It would catch people coming In, out of the building we can't have a camera up In a communal area, she's put a camera up on her front door Its pointed directly at our front door when we open the front door Its directly Looking Into our hallway. Shes obsessed with our 18 year old son Its creepy If he was any younger she'd be known as a peadophile. When ever he goes out she suddenly appears when we go out altogether she always turns up. Because of her behaviour me, my partner our son have been feeling sucidal. I am on anti depressants cause of our neighbour. Shes In her 60s Lives on her own well with a cat Is always accusing people of doing, saying horrible things to her when No!! one Nobody Is ever horrible to her everyone, everybody treats her with kindness even though she's really cruel to everyone, everybody.
shortie - 5-Jul-21 @ 9:29 PM
My neighbours have put a camera right by our back door, recording audio is this aloud? What can I do?
Kimmie - 1-Jul-21 @ 7:01 PM
I am being harassed by a group of loud nasty neighborsI live in a block of flatsI am a lone woman in my 60 s One man in particular stares at my bathroom window making me feelvery uneasy now I want to install a security camera but fear it may be damaged along with my property outside Please help me very scared
Willow - 15-Jun-21 @ 8:09 AM
We have installed a security camera in our back garden to protect our property and dogs due to the recent rise in dog thefts and a few burglaries down our street. Unfortunately we have very rude, nosey and interfering elderly neighbours that have been spying and watching our every move and they have just realised that we have a camera and it picked up my neighbour throwing stones at it and shouting I’ll teach you, surely this is some form of vandalism? I did shout out and ask him to stop and that he has no right to damage our property?He quickly scurried off back indoors. The continuous spying and watching our every move is becoming very annoying and making me feel very uncomfortable indeed.
Nosey neighbour - 11-Jun-21 @ 6:43 PM
Hi I live in a block off 4. I'm the only person who owns my property. We have a comunial rear garden and my downstairs neighbor has a CCTV located on her kitchen window with a small CCTV sticker approximately 100X100. Is this legal in a communalgarden .
MARTYBHOY - 8-Jun-21 @ 12:13 PM
I recently installed a CCTV system to the rear of my property. Within 3 days of installation the system picked up an 'individual' attempting to gain entry to both my and my neighbours property. The local Police soon picked up the 'individual' who was later charged with a large number of break ins and attempted break ins. I called this a positive result. However my neighbour who at the time was delighted and decided to make a large insurance claim (damage to property, smashed tv, broken this, that, theft of cash etc etc etc) decided to make a complaint to our factor regarding the CCTV 'infringing his privacy etc' (he does like to prance about semi clothed with his mothers frillies on). I have recieved a 'cease and desist' notice for my CCTV. I repositioned my install to cover my property, and my property only. A couple of weeks later his house was burgled. He was begging me for CCTV footage which, of course, i dont have and that i did of the burglar attempting entry to my property mysteriously was deleted.
GiF - 6-Jun-21 @ 11:56 AM
I have a cat keeps coming in to my house, wearing a camera, I'm not happy about that, don't know who it belongs to, but its an invasion of my privacy,I can't leave my back door open in the summer because of it....what can I do
Jack - 2-Jun-21 @ 9:25 AM
After splitting up with the wife she keeps on turning on and off the cctv when she come to the house while I am at work and told friends about convention that I was having with friends and and family and my solicitor
Peechy - 20-May-21 @ 9:42 AM
Hi guys, I have involved the police on a neighbour who has a 24hr cctv on his outside front door in a shared communal area, it the outside of building? He did not ask permission from people living on a block of flats me being one to complain with the help of the ICO. I made a complaint to my housing organisation who have not got a clue about these issues. I asked for a Subject Access Request from this individual and he gave me the evidence, it turns out he is photographing and recording me and has given me loads of photos of me walking through a shared communal hallway picking up my post and going to work and hw claims I am doing Anti social behaviour. I have used the Subject Access Request against him and the police are going to deal with him for harassment as I asked him to stop and he hasn't. I have also followed strict information and advice from the Information Commission Office. My request for evidence ishelping me to secure a prosecution against this pervert weirdo. I hope this is helpful to other females experiencing Anti Social Behaviour and Harrasnent from men.
No pushover. - 18-Apr-21 @ 1:30 PM
Hi can you help I have cctv all round my council flat am ground floor I have had it up 10 yrs since druggie neighbours trashed my garden I had nothing but antisocial behaviour complained too police council yet making me take my cctv or take legal action !!! I’am disabled live alone the 4 houses that’s in a click selling taking druggies the drink dens also counterfeit tobacco yer the police council are siding with them all as if it’s acceptable too do drugs smash the place up all time take chain saw too person front door in the block yet never been I evicted what’s the world come too what can I do too get help I got my dad terminal with cancer too. I’am sitting up all night as they threatened smash me house garden up paid for security cams too go up by a named company yet saying got come down !
Margee - 16-Apr-21 @ 11:27 PM
My neighbour opposite has not got a fixed camera. It just hangs outher window and she has it pointing right at my home. What can Ido? The police dont want to know nor does my Housing assc' Riverside housing. What can Ido please.
Janie - 3-Apr-21 @ 7:17 PM
I installed cctv years ago because my neighbour was damaging my garden fences and he's been caught on camera which pit a stop to that We share an communal entry and he's drilling holes in my wall I can't prove it and I want to install a Camera so this nonsence can stop
Kizzi - 1-Apr-21 @ 6:29 AM
I live in in a top floor of a 2 floor block of flats, my neighbor underneath me whom I have a restraining order against for harassment and assault has put a wireless camera doorbell with motion sensors and audio, the camera is pointing along the only staircase into my flat, I would like to know if I have a right to call the police, thanks.
Jonny - 24-Mar-21 @ 3:28 AM
Can someone’s home security Camerasface into a children’s play park?
Kkx89x - 22-Mar-21 @ 4:13 PM
My neighbour cameras face into my kichen I no this as I’ve seen it for myself I’m not happy about this as I have my grandchildren at my house and they go in back garden and I don’t think it’s right that she can watch them What can I do about this
Diane - 19-Mar-21 @ 11:33 AM
Am I allowed to put up a security camera just inside my bedroom window looking out to the car park if it's tilted down? There isanother neighbour block opposite.
Missy - 16-Mar-21 @ 12:17 PM
i live in a hostel that covers most of the common areas with cctv without sound i have been have trouble with one of the other residents so i have been filming in the areas with out cameras and recording audio where there is camera cover i've just been told by the staff that they have been told by management i cant do that. ihave been told by by others i have spoke to that im not braking any laws in the uk. if anyone can help i need it asap i have been call to be up in front of at midday thank you regards d.g.j
daglje - 4-Mar-21 @ 7:37 PM
A business as taken over empty part of building, they have replaced 2 windows with clear glass, used to be frosted, both face into my yard and back door, also put up CCTV that over looks my yard and garage, l feel now l cant sit out there in summer, are they breaking law?Sit
Rosie - 4-Mar-21 @ 5:13 PM
My mum lived in a block of flats with communal areas (lounge, laundry room) & corridors etc. There is a maintenance fee & residents own a share of the freebie. There is a residents' committee which is purely voluntary & made up of people who there. The so-called chairman has installed cctv cameras INSIDE the block of flats, looking up the corridors. He has access to the footage & residents have no idea how it is stored, who else can access it etc. It's impossible to walk up the corridors, use communal areas without walking past the cameras. Is this legal? How can residents force the "chairman" to remove the cameras?
Chris - 15-Feb-21 @ 10:36 PM
My situation is a little more complicated, me and my gran rent 2 rooms in a 3 bed property. Our housemate has installed security cameras both on the front and back of the house without talking to us about it. The one at the back could be moved so that it's only taping his car but he has them set so they see the entire back. I feel like my personal space is being watched. Are his cameras legally installed or does he have to have the landlords approval? Even more does he have to have our approval as we are also tenants of the property?
Matt - 19-Jan-21 @ 5:06 PM
My neighbour has a camera next to my patio door on there side. Also one up garden on shed pointing at my house I believe they have sound.
Janice - 13-Jan-21 @ 2:02 PM
My neighbour has put a CCTV camera on his back gate, it points at my path/ rear of property,& also more worrying at a school which is opposite,filming the pavements & also children going to & from school, it very creepy, what can I do?? It’s a housing association property, thank you
Daisy - 13-Jan-21 @ 12:39 PM
If you live in social housing (council or housing association)and you have a concern regarding CCTV on another property managed by a social landlord you should do the following: First raise the concern regarding domestic cctv capturing images beyond the property boundary or in a communal area with your Housing Manager. Permission is usually required before any external fittings such as Sat Dishes, CB / TV Aerials, CCTV, etc is installed.(see your tenancy agreement). If the landlord granted permission but did not conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment**, They may be LIABLE for allowing a Tenant to breach your Human RightsArticle 8 "right to privacy" line 1. You have the right to ask the landlord for the "clear and justifiable reason" (from ico guidelines) that overrides your fundamental rights* (granted under UK Data Protection) for giving the Tenant in question permission to intrude on your privacy. You should also ask the landlord for the "legitimate interest reason"*** that the Tenant has for capturing images beyond the property boundary. By making a reference to "The Tenant", The Tenant is now a Data Controller as defined by UK Data Protection Law........SEE PREVIOUS POST....... *article 1 gdpr,**article 35 gdpr, ***article 6 gdpr lawfulness of processing. The references to the Articles STILL APPLY and are THE LAW in 2021.........................live long and prosper...........................
candidcam - 10-Jan-21 @ 3:00 AM
Less obvious is the use of police cameras in towns/cities nationwide here in the UK that have the capability to rotate 360 degrees and on many occasions I've spotted them at that time pointing or overlooking people's front doors, back gardens, bedroom windows and even children play parks. Maybe it's just me but I can't help but feel this is entirely inappropriate.
QW - 2-Jan-21 @ 4:03 PM
Mr Jeff Durham, writer of this article: It would be in your best interests to direct people viewing this article to the ICO website. there is an article explaining briefly the requirements of the DOMESTIC CCTV operator and the rights of those being filmed. To summarise some points.: People operating cctv that captures images beyond their property boundary ARE SUBJECT TO UK DATA PROTECTION LAWS 2018 and must have a Clear And Justifiable reason for doing so. They may also be required to provide a Legitimate Interest reason for capturing such images. They would legally be defined as a Data Controller. People being filmed by cctv may present the controller with a data subject access request. That request can be verbal or in writing and the controller must respond within 30 days. The controller must provide the data subject with the information requested, destroy the data or ensure that they do not collect any future data regarding the identifiable data subject. The EU GDPR soon to be UK GDPR after Brexit, IS incorporated into UK law. The data protection act 2018 and the amendments to it in the communications act 2019 are still UK LAW. You may want to consult with EDPB guidelines incorporated into UK data protection laws. they publish working papers that help legal disputes resolve all kinds of data concerns. SUMMARY : to operate a cctv system that can "see the street"because somebody might break into my house is not a "legitimate reason" for me using such equipment, unless i can prove that i live in a high risk crime area and that i have been burgled before. Examples and definitions relating to the relevant articles of GDPR are taken from EDPB (European data protection board) guidelines working paper 3/2019 . thank you...................live long and prosper.............................................
candidcam - 30-Dec-20 @ 3:26 PM
Does no one answer people's questions in here, what's the point of this site?
Annie - 4-Dec-20 @ 1:27 PM
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