CCTV Cameras

If your CCTV system captures images of people outside the boundary of your private domestic property – for example, from neighbours’ homes or gardens, shared spaces, or from public areas – then the GDPR and the DPA will apply to you. You will need to ensure your use of CCTV complies with these laws. If you do not comply with your data protection obligations you may be subject to appropriate regulatory action by the ICO, as well as potential legal action by affected individuals.

The ICO has published guidance on the use of domestic CCTV and a CCTV checklist, which will help you to better understand and meet your obligations under data protection law. It is important that you read this guidance as well as the checklist, as this is a fuller explanation of your obligations to data protection law. The ICO has also published guidance for people being filmed by domestic CCTV.

Data Protection Laws

Data protection laws don’t apply if the cameras cover only the user’s own private property, including their garden. Therefore, visitors caught on these cameras don’t have specific data protection rights in relation to the images captured on those cameras.

But what if the cameras capture images of people outside the boundary of the user’s property – for example, in neighbours’ homes or gardens, in shared spaces, or on a public footpath or a street? Then neighbours, passers-by and anyone else caught on camera will have rights under the data protection laws.

Capturing and recording such images is not itself a breach of the data protection laws. But CCTV users must ensure they comply with these laws and respect the data protection rights of people whose images they capture.

This applies to any video surveillance equipment mounted or fixed on a home, and can include cameras fitted into doorbells.

What are my rights?

If you are filmed on someone’s domestic CCTV system, which is capturing images outside the boundary of their home, the data protection laws give you several rights.

In particular, you have the following rights:

  • To be told that a home CCTV system is being used. The CCTV user must let people know they have CCTV. Signs are the most common way of doing this. They must be clearly visible and legible.
  • To ask for a copy of the information that is held about you. This is known as making a subject access request. You can ask verbally or in writing for copies of any footage where your image is identifiable. The CCTV user must respond to this request within one month. Bear in mind that if they regularly delete footage they no longer need, they might not hold your images.
  • To ask the CCTV user to erase any personal data they hold about you.
  • To ask that the CCTV user does not capture any footage of you in future. However, the nature of CCTV systems may make this very difficult and it might not be possible for the user to do this.

If you have any questions about the use of domestic CCTV, you can contact the ICO or call 0303 123 1113. If you are unhappy about the use of a domestic CCTV system, use the ICO’s online tool to determine the best course of action in your situation.

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