Is it illegal to put a security camera or video equipped doorbell on your home?

Installing security systems is becoming increasingly popular, ranging from traditional fixtures to video-equipped doorbells.

However, you may not realize that you need to make legal considerations before receiving them.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 16: A CCTV camera in Pancras Square near Kings Cross train station on August 16, 2019. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Here’s what the law says:

Any cameras placed on a property must be careful not to disturb your neighbors.

For example, showing their home, yard, and shared spaces may violate privacy regulations.

This is regulated by Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

What is the Human Rights Act 1998?

Article eight is a right to respect for private and family life.

The law, published on the government website, states: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

“Government interference in the exercise of this right shall be authorized only when lawful and necessary in a democratic society for the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of civil disturbance or crime, for the protection of… health or morals or to protect the rights and freedoms of others.”

There are other things to consider when setting up CCTV cameras, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

What is GDPR?

GDPR is a data protection law used to protect people’s information.

In the UK it is enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which also covers the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).

The government has issued guidance on these laws and CCTV systems.

A statement on their website reads: “If your CCTV system captures images of people outside the confines of your private property – for example from neighbors’ houses or gardens, common areas or public areas – then the GDPR and the DPA will do so do apply to you.

“You must ensure that your use of CCTV complies with these laws.”

Private home ownership means the boundary of the property – including the garden – on which you live.

If your video surveillance covers people outside of this area, it is subject to data protection laws.

You must provide a clear and justifiable reason for taking pictures outside your property line to any person who asks or to the ICO.

This can be done in writing or orally.

It also needs to explain why you think taking the pictures is more important than invading the privacy of your neighbors and passers-by.

The government agency also advises everyone to let their neighbors know when CCTV is being installed and have a notice visible when recording is taking place.

CCTV camera operators must also regularly delete their footage and not take more footage than is necessary for the intended purpose.

Individuals have the right to submit a Request for Access (SAR) and receive the personal data that you hold about them – including images.

You must reply within one month.

If someone asks you to delete footage, you must do so within one month unless you need it for a lawsuit.

What if I don’t comply with GDPR and DPA?

You are subject to an enforcement action of the ICO if you breach data protection laws.

This may include a fine.

Affected users can also assert claims for damages in court.

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