• The Bridge Burford

Smart Doorbell Breaks Privacy Rules


An Oxfordshire doctor has won a court ruling that a neighbour's smart doorbell camera breached her privacy. This ruling could open the way for many more claims and she may be awarded substantial damages.

Dr Mary Fairhurst of Thame complained that her neighbour's Amazon Ring doorbell cameras were intrusive and kept her under continuous surveillance. The court ruled that the images and audio files captured by the devices counted as her personal data. The neighbour had collected these data outside the boundaries of his own property and, according the the court, had failed to process the data in a fair and transparent manner as required by data protection laws.

A spokesperson for Big Brother Watch, a civil liberties organisation, said: "It's not illegal per se if a home surveillance camera captures [images of] passers-by, but few owners of these devices understand that doing so makes them a data controller with legal obligations".

The damages payable will be assessed at a separate hearing but one estimate is that they could exceed £100,000.