When it comes to home security, CCTV cameras are by far the biggest deterrent for burglars. But despite this, only around 14% of UK adults actually have CCTV cameras installed in their home. When asked why this was, many responded that they didn’t know the legalities around it, or what they were and weren’t allowed to do. They were afraid of getting in trouble, and so sacrificed what could be one of the biggest protections for their family, possessions and property.
Most people know the rules for businesses having CCTV, but for the average person, it can be more difficult to understand what the law is around having CCTV on your own property. So today we wanted to give you a little insight into the laws around domestic CCTV, so you can make a decision in confidence.
Who Regulates It?
The people in charge of what you can and can’t do with your domestic CCTV systems are called the Information Commissioner’s Office. You might have heard of them before – they are the organisation that regulate and enforce the GDPR and Data Protection Regulations. Because the main concern around private CCTV systems is privacy, they are the best people to understand and control its use. And while most of their focus is on the businesses using CCTV, they have issues some rules and guidance around CCTV for domestic use as well.
The Rules Around Domestic CCTV
In general, the rules around having CCTV for your home are pretty simple. You are allowed to install whatever solution you would like, with no limits to scope and cost, as long as it is only on your property. Once it’s been installed, you will need to follow these guidelines:
- Let people know that you are using CCTV by putting up signs stating that recording is taking place, and why. This also double as a deterrent for burglars.
- Make sure you don’t capture any more dotage than you need to in order to achieve your purpose in having CCTV.
- Ensure that the footage you capture is secure, and no one can access or watch it without good reason.
- Only keep the footage you collect for as long as you need. Delete it regularly when it’s no longer needed.
- If your CCTV system captures images of people outside the boundary of your private, domestic property, you will need to comply with GDPR regulations (which you can find out about here).
- Respect the data protection rights of the people whose image you are capturing. This means responding to subject access requests, deleting footage if people ask you to, and listening and responding to any objections to capturing people’s images.
- Make sure the CCTV system is only used and operated in the ways you intend, and that it can’t be misused for other reasons. This means that anyone you share a property with, like family members, need to understand the importance of not misusing the system as well.
What Happens If I Break These Rules?
If you’re a private citizen, it’s certainly harder for anyone to know you’re breaking the rules. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. If you fail to comply with the rules above, you could find yourself in hot water with the ICO. This could mean anything from a fine, to legal action and compensation claims from anyone affected. But if you follow the guidance from the ICO, then it’s highly unlikely you’ll get into any trouble for using a CCTV system at home.
What Else Should I Think About?
Before you rush right into installing your own home CCTV security system, you should ask yourself a few things, like:
- What is the most privacy-friendly way to set up the system
- What areas do I want the cameras to capture?
- Can you position the cameras to avoid intruding on my neighbours property or shared public spaces?
- Do you need to record the images from the CCTV, or would a live feed be enough?
- Do you want or need an audio recording facility, or will video be enough?
This will help you understand what type of security system you need, and be very useful when talking to security experts about what you want. On top of that, there are a few things you should consider:
- Before you install any system, it might be worth speaking to your neighbours about what you’re doing and why. If they have any objections or concerns, listen and try to address them in a considerate way.
- Remember that while using your CCTV might be appropriate, publicly uploading or streaming footage of identifiable people would need more justification – which in most instances wouldn’t exist.
- You don’t need to register with the ICO or pay a fee, but you do need to maintain records of how and why you’re capturing images, and how long you’re keeping them for. These need to be available to the ICO on request.
- Domestic CCTV covers a wide range of technologies, from full camera arrays and alarms, to cameras fitted on doorbells, so don’t dismiss any options suggested to you by security experts.
At Securifix, we are experts in advising, installing and maintaining home CCTV solutions and physical security measures. We work with you to understand exactly what you need and what you want to protect, and design a solution that’s unique to you. With our help, you can sleep soundly knowing your home, along with the people and things in it, are safe. To find out more, just get in touch with us today.