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ICO Guidance on domestic CCTV

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently published new guidance clarifying the law on domestic CCTV use in and around people’s homes.

You may feel this doesn’t apply to you if you haven’t installed CCTV at your home. However, in this instance, CCTV covers the increasingly popular smart doorbells that we are installing on our homes.

Again, if you don’t have a doorbell akin to the most widely known brand, Ring, you may feel that the law on domestic CCTV is of no interest to you. But if your neighbour’s doorbell is capturing images of your property then they could be breaking the law.

The likes of Ring doorbells have video recording options, and this capturing of images is covered by law under both the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

What you need to know.

If you are capturing images solely on your own property, including your own garden, then you need not worry. But if any part of the footage covers any area beyond your boundaries, you need to comply with the ICO rules. This includes households whose doorbell is facing their neighbour’s door; it also applies to images encapsulating neighbours’ gardens, any shared spaces, or on a public footpath or street.

What Does This Mean?

If any of your footage is outside the boundaries of your own property you need to be able to explain why you need those images.

The ICO also says that you will need to:

    Display signs to let people know what you are doing and why

    Limit how many images you capture to only what you need

    Hold the images securely to prevent them being shared without permission

    Delete the images as soon as you don’t need them

    Respond to Subject Access Requests

    Delete images if people ask you to

    Consider any objections you receive to the use of CCTV

Failure to comply with the law could lead to enforcement action by the ICO and a fine – yes, even if it is ‘just’ your doorbell.

If you think these rules may be applicable to you and you want to learn more, please visit the ICO website.