We are often asked when installing CCTV systems on domestic properties, the laws concerning data protection.  The following blog post gives a brief overview of ways to be data compliant with your domestic CCTV system or door entry system (these also apply due to the capturing of images).

Capturing CCTV Images within your boundaries.

If your domestic CCTV/ door entry system only captures images within your own homes private boundaries including your garden, the data protection laws do not apply to you, and you do not need to take any action.  The security installation team on request can black out the images beyond your home’s boundary if required.

Capturing CCTV Images outside of your Boundaries.

If your CCTV System captures images outside of your home’s boundaries, for example in your neighbors’ house or garden, images of people in shared spaces, public footpaths or in the street, the General Data Protection regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18) will apply to you.

The law states “if your system catches images outside of your homes boundaries, the use of your system will be subject to data protection laws”.

This does not mean you are breaking the law, but it does mean that as a CCTV user you will be classed as a data controller. This means you will need to comply with the relevant data protection laws.

Your CCTV system does not necessarily need changing, but you will need to show you are using the system in ways that comply with data protection laws.

What to do if your CCTV system records images outside of your homes boundaries.

  • You will need to prove you have clear and justifiable reasons for doing it.
  • These reasons should be written down with a clear explanation of why you think capturing the images is more important than invading the privacy of your neighbours/passers-by.

You will also need to:

  • Clearly display a CCTV sign to let people know you are recording using CCTV.
  • Ensure you do not capture more footage than you need.
  • Only keep the CCTV recordings for as long as you need to.
  • Keep the recorded footage secure and do not let other people watch it without good reason.
  • Ensure the CCTV system is only operated in ways that it is intended for e.g. security purposes.

What to do if someone complains to you about your CCTV System.

  • You will need to respect the Data protection rights of the people whose image you capture.
  • People have the right to access their own personal data including images that you hold on them. If an individual verbally or in writing contacts you, you must provide them with a copy of the data within a 1-month period.
  • Images must be deleted of people if they ask you to unless you have a specific and genuine reason for keeping the image, you can refuse the request. You may want to explain why you want to keep the footage and advise them that they can challenge your decision in court or by making a complaint to the ICO (Information Commissioners Office)

Considerations

  • Before you have a CCTV system fitted by a security installation team, consider speaking to your neighbours and explain your plan to have CCTV cameras installed.
  • Listen to their concerns or objections if they have any.
  • Once your CCTV has been fitted, invite your neighbours over to view the footage you capture. Most people will feel more secure within their own homes knowing your CCTV system may prevent crime.
  • In most CCTV related disputes between neighbours, the ICO will not consider it appropriate or proportionate to take enforcement against the CCTV owner
  • Publicly uploading or streaming footage of identifiable people on social media or other platforms is not justifiable and does go against the Data protection laws and enforcement may occur.

To conclude

Domestic CCTV cameras do not need to register with the ICO or pay a fee, but you do need to keep a record of how and why you are capturing images and how long you keep them for.

For more information regarding Data protection visit ICO at https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/domestic-cctv-systems-guidance-for-people-using-cctv/

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