CCTV and the Data Protection Act

CCTV cameras - Bassett Lock and KeyThe Crime Prevention Website have recently reported on the changes to CCTV systems for personal use. If you operate a CCTV system at home, it is vital to have a look at the latest guidelines from the Information Commissioner’s Office. This will mean that you can then use your CCTV system safely within the restrictions of the Data Protection Act (DPA).

As an overview, a domestic CCTV system is exempt from the DPA except when any part of your camera overlooks the boundary of your property. If the unit collects images (even if only in part) from your neighbour’s garden or from across the street, for instance, you are subject to the regulations of the Data Protection Act. That does not mean that you are in breach of the DPA though.

To prevent the need to be compliant with the DPA you can simply adjust the angle that your cameras are pointing at. Ensure that each camera is only capturing images of entirely your property and grounds. It is worth mentioning that if you do this however, you may want to improve the security of your home on the boundary edges. 

If as an individual, you feel that you cannot entirely claim ‘domestic purposes exemption’ under the Data Protection Act you should contact the Information Commissioner’s Office on 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or visit their website. This will include notifying the ICO of the fact that you are a Data Controller. As the laws governing CCTV under the DPA are new, the ICO do recognise that people will need time to familiarize themselves with the legislation so have so far stated that for the first year under the new guidelines, no action will be taken against an individual, except in exceptional circumstances. It would be wise to get used to the new rules now though, as this level of leniency cannot be guaranteed.

Should you require any further advice on the subject of home security, then please do not hesitate to contact Bassett Lock and Key on 02380 776 367, for a fast and friendly response.

With thanks for the use of the CCTV photograph to Hustvedt under CC BY-SA 3.0

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