Some users of domestic CCTV systems need to comply with data protection laws. This depends on what their cameras can see.
Data protection laws don’t apply if the cameras cover only the user’s own private property, including their garden. Therefore, visitors caught on these cameras don’t have specific data protection rights in relation to the images captured on those cameras.
But what if the cameras capture images of people outside the boundary of the user’s property – for example, in neighbours’ homes or gardens, in shared spaces, or on a public footpath or a street? Then neighbours, passers-by and anyone else caught on camera will have rights under the data protection laws.
Capturing and recording such images is not itself a breach of the data protection laws. But CCTV users must ensure they comply with these laws and respect the data protection rights of people whose images they capture.
This applies to any video surveillance equipment mounted or fixed on a home, and can include cameras fitted into doorbells.
What are my rights?
If you are filmed on someone’s domestic CCTV system, which is capturing images outside the boundary of their home, the data protection laws give you several rights.
In particular, you have the following rights:
- To be told that a home CCTV system is being used. The CCTV user must let people know they have CCTV. Signs are the most common way of doing this. They must be clearly visible and legible.
- To ask for a copy of the information that is held about you. This is known as making a subject access request. You can ask verbally or in writing for copies of any footage where your image is identifiable. The CCTV user must respond to this request within one month. Bear in mind that if they regularly delete footage they no longer need, they might not hold your images.
- To ask the CCTV user to erase any personal data they hold about you.
- To ask that the CCTV user does not capture any footage of you in future. However, the nature of CCTV systems may make this very difficult and it might not be possible for the user to do this.
I’m unhappy about the use of a home CCTV system. What can I do?
Use our online tool to determine the best course of action in your situation.
Remember that if the CCTV system focuses only on the user’s home, the data protection laws don’t apply and the above rights won’t apply to you.
In most cases CCTV cameras are installed around a private home to monitor and protect personal property, and to ensure the safety of the user and their family. Normally, the images captured will only be used to identify individuals after an incident. The images are then passed to the police or to insurance companies if there’s a claim. Any organisation receiving images, such as the police or insurers, must comply with the data protection laws in how they handle and use this information.
We know CCTV systems can feel intrusive – especially if they capture images outside the boundary of the user’s property. This is why we have published guidance for domestic CCTV users. The guidance gives good-practice tips and reminds users of their obligations under the data protection laws.
However, in most CCTV-related disputes between neighbours, the ICO will not consider it appropriate or proportionate to take enforcement action against the CCTV user.