The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) oversees and enforces data protection law. An ICO webpage on Domestic CCTV systems (undated) states:

The use of recording equipment, such as CCTV or smart door bells, to capture video or sound recordings outside the user’s property boundary is not a breach of data protection law.  

People should try to point their CCTV cameras away from their neighbours’ homes and gardens, shared spaces or public streets. But this is not always possible.

When people capture images and audio recordings outside of their property boundary, they should consider how intrusive this activity is. They should consider whether they can point their cameras elsewhere or, if possible apply filters or privacy blocks. In these circumstances, data protection law also requires them to follow certain rules – although these are difficult to enforce.    

 The ICO webpage goes on to explain:

  • the rules for domestic CCTV.
  • what people can do if they are unhappy about being recorded on someone’s domestic CCTV system.
  • what can be done if children are being recorded.
  • what action the ICO can take.

Depending on the specific circumstances, the domestic use of CCTV could be challenged if its use amounted to harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Sources of legal advice are set out in the Library Briefing, Legal help: where to go and how to pay.

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