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Home CCTV Law

Nowadays, CCTV installation by security-conscious homeowners is a common occurrence. CCTV cameras when you’re out and about are a normal sight, but it’s never a bad idea to consider their installation at home to help keep your property safe from harm.

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Yellow CCTV Warning SignWhen installing CCTV cameras at your home, ensure that you know the right information concerning data protection laws.

To be on the safe side with these laws, you should ensure your CCTV camera captures only those images within the boundary of your premises. If your CCTV cameras capture images outside your perimeter, then applying for data protection law is not an option for you.

CCTV laws are set to ensure that the privacy of others is observed and protected. Let’s discuss the laws that govern CCTV installation in the UK, so you know your rights and have all the information you need to feel comfortable with your CCTV system.

Who enforces CCTV law in the UK?

It is the mandate of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to enforce and regulate the 2018 Data Protection Act and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). This office is responsible for publishing guidelines that inform domestic CCTV owners of their obligation regarding data protection law. The DPA and GDPR apply to any property owner who has a CCTV that captures their neighbour’s homes, public areas or shared spaces. The ICO office is also instrumental in answering any queries that domestic CCTV users may have and give advice on the next course of action in case of a CCTV footage dispute.

How the domestic CCTV law is applied

Not all domestic CCTV users need to comply with DPA regulations. Data protection law does not apply to cameras that cover only the domestic user’s property. Any visitor who visits these private premises, whereupon their image is filmed, cannot claim any data protection. When the cameras are in a position where they can film images beyond the user’s property – for example, filming the neighbour’s garden, public footpaths, or the street – anyone whose image is captured by these cameras is covered by DPL rights. When a CCTV captures images in a general public area, it is essential to note that this is not a breach of DPL laws.

Let people know your CCTV is filming beyond your premises

It is recommended that you let people know that your CCTV cameras capture images beyond your boundary. Always have a good reason why you’re using CCTV in this area, particularly if asked by the ICO or your neighbours. Your explanation to them should answer why the images are essential to you. Note that the data protection law has published several rights that protect anyone from being filmed by a CCTV camera that captures images beyond its boundary.

Having signposted your CCTV area clearly, it is vital that you ensure that you capture usable footage that helps you attain the objective of using the system.

The right to information

Any person has the right to access footage/information whereupon their image is identifiable in your CCTV recordings. Per request, any domestic CCTV user should provide the footage/information within one month, except for homeowners who regularly delete their CCTV footage. Note that footage access should be kept extremely limited and footage stored in a secure area.

Requests to erase CCTV footage

If you think CCTV footage has captured you outside of the homeowner’s boundary, you have a right to instruct the homeowner to delete any footage which has accidentally or purposefully captured your image. This is also true of the opposite: anyone who has a reasonable belief that you’ve unlawfully obtained footage of them can instruct you to delete their image from your recordings.

Repercussions of failing to comply with the law

Any domestic CCTV user who fails to comply with the DPA will face ICO enforcement action. The ICO may decide to give you a fine or subject you to a legal move using the help of any affected individuals. It’s important to note that individuals who follow this ICO regulation to the letter will have little to no issue, making it difficult for ICO officers to subject unwarranted law enforcement.

To summarise…

When installing a CCTV system that will film beyond your boundary, it is advisable to inform your neighbour(s) and explain its benefit and usefulness. Please give them full details of your surveillance equipment and whether it involves sounds, images or both. Assure them that their images will be kept safe and let them know you will fully adhere to the regulation laid out by the data protection law and ICO. It’s also essential that you’re clear when it comes to the period of access to retained footage before deletion.

By keeping the topics we’ve explored here in mind, your domestic CCTV operation can be left to do its job perfectly.

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