Home > Respecting Neighbours > CCTV, Privacy and The Law

CCTV, Privacy and The Law

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 May 2024 | 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.

Website Design, Illustration, Hosting and SEO

If you are looking to increase brand awareness, generate web enquiries and/or generate online sales In Studio Digital will create an affordable, mobile friendly, secure website - check out In Studio Digital.

Based in the UK, skilled in WordPress, web design, ecommerce and illustration, they will build your site quickly, host it on a high performance server, and make it SEO friendly. Prices start at £399.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
The trouble with this cctv stuff,is its a double edge sword situation. On the one hand you have the genuine security element and then on the other you have people who are using them for prying or intimadation purposes. Police certainly dont want to know :(
Maz - 22-May-24 @ 1:04 PM
I live in a purpose-built flat one if the flats is separate it's a courtyard.The man in the court yard ive just discovered he has camera's everywhere facing the two entries so he can see who is coming and going he also has them in the carpark and several other places.hehas the cameras in his living room next to his TV so he is permanently looking at them he also makes comments like who was that delivery for etc this surely can't be allowed we are being watched it's voyeuristic and I don't want him looking at who is coming and going and everyone else agrees
Winwenders - 21-May-24 @ 12:41 PM
Hello does anyone know whether there is a legal required distance from your neighbours house to your own house for a cctv camera as in a camera near our bedroom window. Its on his boundary but very near and level with our bedroom window. Also is it legal to print out pictures off the cctv camera as in my neighbour came round with pictures of me that he had printed off from his cctv as apparently i had set foot over his boundary and it was literally a foot ):he is a creep and a bully and i have had trouble with him before, it did make me feel very uncomfortable knowing he is doing this ):
Maz - 17-May-24 @ 8:05 PM
We have problem neighbours for the last 4 years and it's getting worse, there's drugs dealing, prostitution,hatred, verbal abuse and 10 times the council have told her to take her cctv down, due to her bullying and harassing an 93 year old lady living opposite, the police have been there several times because of harrassment, the house has been raided due to drugs. The problem is is always been a trouble maker and if anyone seeks to this elderly neighbours she accesses them of talking about her, she's even sent hate mail to other neighbours who talk to them. This situation is out of hand, this elderly lady is scared to look out of the window, close her curtains, they've also had their car scratched, these people ate making their lives hell, They take the cctv cameras down but 5 minutes later when the housing people have left they put them back up. No one should have to live like prisoners in their home, and even though its s council estate, and they've warned this women she just laughs and brags about it. What else can we do, it's difficult for this elder lady to move cause she needs an adapted house and there's none about. So she's stuck. I can't put my name on her because if she sees it I know my life won't be worth living she'll make it hell,
Jojo - 18-Feb-24 @ 9:38 AM
My grandson is buried in the local cemetery, and a man in a house has cctv in his back garden, but it records into the cemetery. Recently my daughter was there with her daughter and their dog, and a man from the council came down to say that it was reported to them by this man that a dog was running around the cemetery not on a lead. The man from the council saw that this was not true and the dog was lying down. Surely this is illegal as the guy must be sitting at his cctv screen watching.
Lormal - 24-Jan-24 @ 8:40 PM
Hello, my neighbor placed a CCTV camera in his house, this camera rotates and is filming the door of my house which is far from the street, this neighbor is problematic, I don’t want him to film the door of my house, what can I do? Can I put something on the wall of my house that blocks the view of the camera facing my door?
Fabio 24 - 10-Jan-24 @ 7:38 PM
Hello, my neighbor placed a CCTV camera in his house, this camera rotates and is filming the door of my house which is far from the street, this neighbor is problematic, I don’t want him to film the door of my house, what can I do? Can I put something on the wall of my house that blocks the view of the camera facing my door?
F*** - 8-Jan-24 @ 1:45 PM
This advice is incorrect. This is from the ICO website: Data protection law says that people who capture images or audio recordings from outside their property boundary using a fixed camera, such as a CCTV camera or smart doorbell, should: tell people that they are using recording equipment; in most circumstances, provide some of the recording if asked by a person whose images have been captured; regularly or automatically delete footage; in most circumstances, delete recordings of people if they ask; and stop recording a person if they object to being recorded, but only if it is possible to do so. For example, if they can point the camera in a different direction but still use it for the same purposes, eg keeping their property safe.
Rachel Cave - 21-Jul-23 @ 1:40 PM
Hi all...I live in a council flat...there's no CCTV installed at all and when i queried the council,was told it's against people's privacy...I recently had a parcel delivery left on door because i wasn't home it was taken by time I had arrived home... obviously been pinched and nobody is owning up...am I within my rights to install a camera just on my own doorstep?
Miss_Understood - 20-Jul-23 @ 6:47 AM
What is the law re PTZ cameras when used on a residential property? These cameras go far beyond what CCTV camera are capable of.
SpotOn - 19-Jul-23 @ 10:07 AM
Hi, my neighbour put cctv camera in her upstairs window which seems like its pointing on our driveway but what is more concerning that camera spins around and when it does its following kids playing outside and in that moment its not recording even inch of her property but everyone elses. What can i do about this asit gives me headache. She is older women causing chaos together with her daughter on our street all the time about kids playing outside or leaving toys or bikes in our front gardens while they just sit in house doing with their miserable lifes.
Jmaar - 28-Jun-23 @ 5:08 PM
The neighbour has installed cctv and it's aimed only on our place, this in my opinion is SICK PERSON WITH ZERO MANNERS, why we know this is the not so clever thing next door to us has told another neighbour this, what right/rights do we have became that cctv can be moved quite easily because there are NO OBSTACLES, any suggestions.
Anti cctv - 21-Jun-23 @ 4:51 PM
Can the police enter your property and cover the CCTV.
Me - 19-Jun-23 @ 7:32 PM
The council have just installed cctv outside the entrance to the entrance to the flats st the entrance. It seems the camera is actually able to see into my flat kitchen window.4fy away pointed into my flat and entrance . There is no policy or info explaining that it is there or info where data is stored or n clear signs saying that they are filming . I feel that I cannot go in my kitchen Asy are watching me . Is thislegal.
Pjw - 7-Jun-23 @ 1:11 AM
I just noticed the neighbour has put a camera up I don’t know how long it has been there or wether or not it can see into my garden what is really bothering me is wether or not it’s close enough to my bedroom window to be recording sound. This neighbour has previously on multiple occasions been very much of a creep and I just absolutely hate the thought of these creepy old man recording anything that I may be doing in the privacy of my own bedroom.
Fen - 31-May-23 @ 2:16 PM
Our neighbours been causing problems for awhile like pouring gravy and flour on our flat door, knocking our door and running away. We want camera for security purposes and it will help us see who's causing trouble. We've got an alarm system with doorbell camera. We asked our housing association to see if we can put a camera up and they said no but we can dispute their decision.
Songbird - 4-May-23 @ 12:59 AM
My neighbors across the street contacted my ex and are giving her video footage from their security camera of my house as ammunition against me. How is this legal?
Violated - 1-May-23 @ 3:53 PM
My Neighbours had installed adummy bullet CCTV camera and then she has recently bought a hardwire indoor CCTV camera and installed it on the shed outside and it is installed it in the same place as the dummy bullet CCTV camera. The issue being that the camera is installed on their shed but is pointing out on to a private lane which we my family and top house maintain. Me and my family feel like we are being spied on and watched coming and going from our property. Is this invasion of privacy?Bit of background before this we have had ongoing issues with them because they didn't like that our security light was supposedly pointing in their bedroom window, which it wasn't and then 5 years ago they were asked buy us can you not use the lane as you live on the housing estate and have access to your property that way or if you want to use it help us maintain it and we was greeted by f*CK off and was assaulted by the old woman and man and their family.
Crownfield1987 - 12-Apr-23 @ 6:37 PM
We think our neighbor is turning of our security camera as it's not connected to my WiFi, my partner has reset it and it picks him up when outside, but when our neighbor returns home it does not pick him up parking up on his drive as it stops working, we have had problems with this neighbor since we moved in, He dislikes my partner he assaulted him knocking his tooth out, he through a solid wood leg from a table through the window I was stood at cutting my arm, he was arrested charge for criminal damage and assault the housing told him in a letter if anything like this happens again they will evict them, to
Ally - 12-Apr-23 @ 12:55 AM
My neighbour has a camera at the rear of his garden and records the car park but the camera records my back gate. Is he allowed to recorded my back gate without my permission
Craig - 2-Apr-23 @ 9:47 PM
My neighbour has a camera on the fence between our gardens and its pointing straight at my garden I keep turning it around but she's turning it back what is my rights is she allowed to film my garden and if not what can I do we don't talk and I'm very upset about this and I'm frightened to talk to her I don't keep in good health
Tanzie - 9-Mar-23 @ 6:39 PM
I live in flats and my front door faces a wall. Can I place a motion sensor door security camera on my door. It will not look into neighbours front doors. I do live at the exit door where the bins are and neighbours will activate it when passing. Is this in breach of DPA?
Mandy1 - 4-Mar-23 @ 8:00 AM
This is a great article exploring the contentious debate between CCTV and privacy. It's essential for us to be aware of our rights and understand that our privacy is protected by law, as well as for us to be mindful of the implications of CCTV. Thank you for this informative article!
v380propc.com - 24-Feb-23 @ 7:47 PM
My neighbour has a camera in her car and now parks at a different angle with the camera looking directly into my front room. Can I do anything about this
Johnty - 20-Feb-23 @ 10:24 PM
Is it legal to use an indoor camera and place it to look out of an upstairs window. These people move the camera from the inside and point it directly into my conservatory and garden/patio area. I have reported this to the council the council told them to place tge camera so not to see in my garden...but they still keep moving it. What can I do...im dreading the summer?
Meg - 5-Jan-23 @ 10:29 PM
Is it illegal to log into my ex partners security camera in her kitchen? There is evidence on it that shows her messaging other men both while together and apart! Thanks I’m advance.
Rayban - 4-Jan-23 @ 3:46 PM
Need some advice.I live in a block of flats. 6 in total, 2 flats per landing. We would like to install cctv camera pointing at our door (not at the neighbours front door) for security reasons and issues with upstairs neighbour. Are we allowed legally to do this? We live in Scotland.
JoJo - 2-Jan-23 @ 10:58 PM
Hi I am currently living in a shared house with a camera in the kitchen, I have recently found out that the camera records audio I just wanted to know if this is legal as I feel it is a breach of privacy please respond asap.
Elise - 7-Dec-22 @ 8:45 PM
Hello my neighbour who acts as a director for residential block watching everyone on cameras on her self phone.. Cameras were installed in the corridors facing my flat and other neighbour flat. Would this be considered legal ?
Carol - 10-Nov-22 @ 12:10 AM
Go down the legal law route it’s a human rights breach and it’s a solicitor u needto speak with clause 8and clause17 of the human rights u can do something about it act nowthey are only allowed cctv at there part of the building no where else check it out and hope u win ur case
Ebby - 23-Sep-22 @ 9:53 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments