Security cameras are becoming an increasingly common sight on our homes and are no doubt a valuable way of maintaining security. However a friend who knows about these things told us that there are limits to what you can do with them. So we looked into this, and this is what we found.
Basically there is no problem if a camera only captures images within the boundary of your property, including your garden. However, if it captures images of people outside that boundary, such as on the road outside, in shared spaces or in your neighbours’ homes or gardens, things become a little more complicated. You can still use your camera but you have to do so in a way that complies with data protection laws. (A camera for this purpose includes one fitted to a doorbell.)
The first requirement is that you will need to be able to show that you have a justifiable reason for capturing images outside your property so that you could explain this either to a person affected by the camera or the office of the Information Commissioner (ICO) who has the job of supervising such matters. In other words, how can you show that capturing the images is more important than protecting the privacy of your neighbours or indeed anyone who may pass by your home?
There are other steps you should take. You will need to put up a sign or signs saying that recording is taking place and explaining why. Another is to ensure that you keep the images secure and that you don’t keep them longer than you reasonably need them, and to maintain a record of this. You are also required to delete footage of people if they ask you to do so, unless you need it for a legal dispute.
There are other issues which need to be considered and there is not space to cover them all here. If you need more information you can obtain it from the ICO’s website ico.org.uk