CCTV – Good or Bad?

We are currently looking at different types of CCTV for our property. We have a motion camera at the rear but it was suggested we look at getting full CCTV.

CCTV has always been a double-edged sword. While it can be used to protect somewhere it can also be used to make people feel uncomfortable. Where do you draw the line and how do you ensure that you are not breaking any laws or using your CCTV for a purpose other than what it was intended?

What I have read is that when using CCTV in your own home it is vital that it is not misused and you have to be very careful. Here are some of the things I have found out from my research:

The regulations governing CCTV arise from the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) from which the Government created the Surveillance Camera code of practice (2013). This is upheld by the Government’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

The law is not designed to deter homeowner CCTV equipment. Its aim is to avoid misuse and to ensure that it doesn’t impact on the privacy rights that innocent people have. You are protecting your home with CCTV, but it shouldn’t inadvertently spy on your neighbours or passers-by at the same time! It certainly shouldn’t blatantly be used to spy on anyone.

If someone believes you have CCTV footage of them, within the Data Protection Act, they can demand to see the imagery.

To be on the safe side with these laws, you should ensure your CCTV camera captures only those images within the boundary of your premises. If your CCTV cameras capture images outside your perimeter, then applying for data protection law is not an option for you.

It is recommended that you let people know that your CCTV cameras capture images beyond your boundary. Always have a good reason why you’re using CCTV in this area, particularly if asked by the ICO or your neighbours. Your explanation to them should answer why the images are essential to you. Note that the data protection law has published several rights that protect anyone from being filmed by a CCTV camera that captures images beyond its boundary.

If you think CCTV footage has captured you outside of a homeowner’s boundary, you have a right to instruct the homeowner to delete any footage which has accidentally or purposefully captured your image. This is also true of the opposite: anyone who has a reasonable belief that you’ve unlawfully obtained footage of them can instruct you to delete their image from your recordings.

We are so used to CCTV as part of our everyday lives when out and about – but we shouldn’t really have to feel anxious about it on our own property. CCTV should never be used as a tool for harassment or bullying – and should be fitted to protect your property but not encroach on someone-else’s.

I certainly don’t want to feel like I’m constantly being watched in my own home and garden – so it’s important not to make other people feel the same way too when installing your own system. People deserve their privacy – they deserve to feel safe in their own space.

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