Throughout the country many homes are investing in home security including CCTV cameras. The cameras keep a watchful eye on your property both inside and out, allowing you to sleep soundly. Although they may not be able to stop intruders entering your home, the cameras will act as a deterrent. Being far more likely to be caught if they are being filmed, burglars will usually avoid homes that have CCTV installed. There are a number of laws concerning domestic CCTV that you should be aware of if planning on investing.
Are you Covered by the Data Protection Act?
The main law regarding CCTV is the Data Protection Act 1998. However, this only applies to businesses and organisations, so if you install cameras at your home then these laws do not cover this use. This law does protect you in many ways, such as you have the right to see images which give away information about you. One example of this is an image of your car number plate.
When Would having CCTV be Breaking the Law?
There can often be a lot of confusion concerning what is legal and what is not when it comes to home CCTV, especially regarding rules about where the cameras can point. If you are using your cameras for the purpose of protection or any other allowed uses, then if the cameras overlook the street this is not usually a problem. Issues can start to occur concerning the direction in which the cameras are facing if neighbours feel they are being overlooked.
If you are a neighbour that feels a CCTV camera is being used to look directly into your property, then you may have a case to have this changed due to the Human Rights Act. You are well within your rights to have a private home life, and if you feel this is being compromised then you can raise the issue with the police.
If you are installing a CCTV system and feel the position of the cameras may be a concern for your neighbours, the best way to handle this is to discuss the issue with them. If you use your cameras to intrude on your neighbour’s privacy then you may be prosecuted.
What May be Coming into Force?
CCTV is a major part of life now and has many uses, including keeping an eye on the safety of the British public. It can be used for evidence in cases of violence and illegal activity and has proven to reduce criminal acts in many areas. However, when it comes to domestic CCTV there are not many rules and regulations as it is a fairly new security measure that is catching on throughout the country.
The Coalition’s surveillance camera commissioner Andrew Rennison, discussed earlier this year that he will soon be working on releasing a guidance to help people with the rules concerning domestic CCTV usage. This could include new laws and regulations, or could simply be a guide to the rules that already are in place.