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The rise in the use of CCTV cameras on domestic properties in recent years has led to some court cases with people complaining about their neighbours’ CCTV cameras or the increasingly common video doorbell. One example is the case of a man who installed a video doorbell to watch his car driveway but was brought in front of Oxford County Court by his neighbour, who felt she was under his constant surveillance. A large claim for damages was made as the judge ruled data protection laws had been breached.

The simple rule has always been: capture images from within your own property boundaries only, go beyond that and you will be subject to the data protection laws, and potentially expensive claims and court proceedings. The law in this respect makes no difference between the use of CCTV by businesses, public sector organisations or private individuals. And rightly so; CCTV images may contain personally identifiable information (PII) and so, for all our sakes, this must be protected by whoever collects the data.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has some very useful, clear guidance for the use of CCTV cameras and audio recording devices on domestic properties. To avoid unwanted surprises, it is recommended you make yourself familiar with this before you install this kind of device on your house: Domestic CCTV systems – guidance for people using CCTV (ICO).

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