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What Can we do About a Neighbour's CCTV Camera?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 May 2022 | comments*Discuss
 
Cctv Privacy Law Harassment Human Rights

Q.

I was wondering what action I can take with regards to a neighbour who has just recently moved a CCTV camera into his bedroom and is pointing it directly at our front door and two bathroom windows.

We live in a courtyard development (5 houses) and the camera is about 10-15 metres away and clearly visible. He already has an external camera pointing towards his own door which is absolutely of no consequence, but I feel the second camera is in violation of our rights to privacy.

We have recently had some flooding issues, although his property was not affected. The emergency services were called and he was seen standing watching everyone and even the fire brigade felt the need to comment.

Later that day when council representatives were on site, in front of witnesses he "flew" at my wife and invaded her space and verbally attacked her. What can I do?

(D.M, 16 October 2008)

A.

The main laws surrounding the use Of CCTV are contained within the Data Protection Act 1998 but these do not cover domestic residences. It is perfectly legal for a resident to install CCTV (even with recording and playback capabilities) and, in the normal course of events, this will be done to protect one’s own property against the threat of intruders and trespassers.

When installed correctly and used for the right purpose, residents who have installed CCTV will tend to have a positive effect on the reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour occurring in the neighbourhood, as would be perpetrators of such actions would be less inclined to commit offences for fear of being caught on camera.

The problem, as you rightly pointed out, lies in the fact that you perceive that one of your neighbours’ CCTV cameras is pointing directly at your property and this is a Privacy Issue. As far as the law goes in this regard, it would be covered by the Human Rights Act under your rights to privacy. Article 8 of the Act entitled “The Right to Respect for Private and Family Life, Home and Correspondence” means that your neighbour might well be breaking the law here.

Ideally, it would be better if you could speak to the neighbours politely, explain the situation to them and request that they make certain modifications to the CCTV system so that it does not infringe on your privacy. However, given you stated that the man verbally attacked your wife, the likelihood would seem to suggest that he would not be prepared to listen. Incidentally, the fact that the man verbally attacked your wife might be also covered under the Human Rights Act in terms of harassment alone. It's also likely that his behaviour will have been mentally noted, at least, by the council representatives so that could obviously go in your favour.

Therefore, I think you have every right to contact your local authority or local police force and have them come out to investigate. They would obviously need to be satisfied that the installation was basically Causing Harassment, perhaps even bordering on voyeurism, and they could then take action. Alternatively, get some advice first from a solicitor who has specialist knowledge in this area.

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