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home cctv laws explained1

Home CCTV camera laws explained 

96% of security cameras in the UK are now owned by private businesses and homeowners. The cost of security systems has dropped and the rise in popularity of doorbell cameras has led to a huge increase in the number of home CCTV cameras being installed. 

According to research, CCTV cameras are one of the most effective deterrents for burglars who want to operate undetected so it’s no wonder so many homeowners are deciding to invest. However, although a great security measure for your home, home CCTV cameras are also subject to strict data protection regulations so it’s important to be familiar with these before installing your own system. 

In this guide, we will answer the key questions around the laws surrounding home CCTV and the regulations you need to be aware of. 

Do I need permission to install a CCTV camera outside my home?

Usually, you don’t not need to seek permission to install a CCTV camera. If you live in a listed building, you may need permission. 

The key laws and regulations around home CCTV are not around whether you can install CCTV but around where you place it and how you plan to use it. 

What are the rules and regulations you need to follow?

According to the UK Government’s website, a home CCTV surveillance system includes the camera, footage storage devices, recorded images and any other images linked to your security system. 

If the cameras are pointing to and only cover your own property, there are not too many laws or regulations to abide by. However, if your cameras may cover public roads, shared spaces by other residents or images of other people’s private property, you need to be aware of the regulations that apply. 

When capturing footage outside your own property, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as the UK’s Data Protection Act (DPA) will apply to the footage and the way you use the images recorded by your security system.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) outlines the guidelines for the use of privacy CCTV systems so your security cameras will need to comply with personal data protection law to avoid facing fines or action by the organisation. 

As the owner and installer of your home CCTV cameras, you are responsible for managing their footage and any personal information captured by them. 

Laws, regulations and guidelines to follow for home CCTV

If you’re installing CCTV on your property,  there are a few key points you will need to note and follow to ensure that you’re following the regulations and respecting the privacy of your neighbours. 

Are you only recording footage of your property?

If your cameras are only recording footage within the boundary of your home, including your front porch and garden, the CCTV laws and regulations will not apply to you. 

Will you be recording footage outside your property?

If you’re recording images and videos of areas outside your property for example, your neighbour’s garden or the street, you will need to abide by GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 in terms of the footage and what you do with it. It’s also important that the footage is not shared with any third parties and is kept safe to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. 

Comply with laws and guidelines 

You must make sure that your CCTV system complies with the laws and guidelines set out by the GDPR and DPA as failing to do so could mean they turn to the ICO to take appropriate legal action. 

Data protection laws mean that you need to use the system responsibly by ensuring and protecting other people’s privacy. These laws also provide individuals with the right to see information held about them which includes CCTV recordings. 

Capturing footage beyond your own property is a breach of privacy so the ICO receives a number of complaints from neighbours who are concerned that CCTV systems are being used to spy on them. 

Why are you installing a CCTV system?

Serious security and safety threats are legitimate reasons to install a home CCTV system and should be the only reason you’re installing the system. 

Register your system 

You will need to register as a CCTV operator with the ICO if you want to operate cameras outside of your property without using privacy masking and filters. 

Let your neighbours know 

If you’re using cameras around your home, you will need to be as transparent as possible about your use of cameras. Make sure you inform your neighbours and let them know if the cameras will be covering any of their property or areas they have access to. You must also put up a sign to inform people that the areas is covered by your cameras. 

Avoid audio recording 

Audio recording is even more of an invasion of privacy than capturing video footage. It is usually advised that you disable audio on home CCTV systems. 

Regularly delete footage 

You must make sure that you regularly delete recorded footage once it is no longer required – this should usually be done within 31 days unless the footage is required as part of an investigation.

Rights of people being filmed 

Data protection law means that as a homeowner with CCTV installed, you must let other people know if you’re capturing images on their property. 

The following rights are granted to those people who are captured by your CCTV cameras: 

  • Be informed about being under surveillance – you can let people know that they’re being observed on your property or the surrounding area by putting up clear signs. 
  • Ask for footage in which they are identifiable – anyone who knows or suspects that you are capturing CCTV footage of them can make a subject access request after which you will have one month to provide the footage. If you regularly delete the footage, as you should, this may not be possible. 
  • Ask for personal information to be deleted – people also have the right to ask you to delete any images or video footage you hold of them under Data Protection laws. 

If someone is not happy with the way you’re using your CCTV system, they can register a complaint with the ICO and legal action can be taken if you’re not following the relevant laws and regulations. 

How to make sure your home CCTV installation is compliant 

Alongside the regulations we have already outlined in the guide, there are a few other steps you can take to make sure that your home CCTV system is fully compliant with Data Protection laws and to prevent you from facing legal action. 

Installation by a reputable company 

Installing your CCTV system correctly is just as important as it’s proper usage to make sure it’s compliant with legislation. 

One of the best ways to make sure your CCTV system is fully compliant is to have it installed by a reputable security company. 

At Home CCTV, we focus solely on CCTV which means we’re well-suited to deliver expert service and advice to make sure your CCTV system is right for your home. We have unrivalled knowledge so we’ll be able to provide you with the system that’s right for your home, needs and to comply with Data Protection laws. 

We have a complete network of technicians and installers as well as a dedicated admin and customer support team that are always on hand to help. 

Regular maintenance 

Whilst you may be complying with the ideal location of your CCTV cameras and the deletion of footage, your system will still require regular maintenance to make sure it continuously complies throughout its lifetime. 

This will include checking the positioning of the cameras to make sure they’re fitted properly and are not intruding on other people’s privacy. Regular servicing will ensure that deletion of footage is taking place when it should be, storage is secure and recordings are not kept for longer than they should be. 

The system also needs to be kept clean because dirt and debris can affect the functioning of the CCTV cameras which can cause them to malfunction. 

Servicing your system every year will help to maintain optimum performance and can detect potential issues early before they become major problems. 

What happens if you don’t comply with regulations?

If you fail to comply with the law or regulations and someone makes a complaint, you will face enforcement action from the ICO. This could be in the form of a fine or legal action using the help of affected individuals. If you follow ICO regulation and guidance, as well as have your CCTV system installed by a professional company, you will not have any issues and it will be difficult for the ICO to implement any law enforcement action. 

We hope you have found this information useful but, if you’d like to install a CCTV system for your home, please request a quote for your home


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