Private use of CCTV and surveillance equipment
The use of CCTV and other surveillance equipment (e.g. dashcams, body worn video, drones) will involve the processing of personal data.
However, the data protection legislation does not apply to the processing of personal data by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity ("domestic purposes").
The data protection legislation does not therefore apply to the use of surveillance equipment by private individuals provided it is only used for domestic purposes. This means:
- CCTV installed on domestic properties limited to the confines of that property and not overlooking neighbouring properties and gardens, even partially, as this can be highly intrusive.
- Dashcams or CCTV installed in vehicles are generally used to provide evidence of incidents directly, or indirectly, involving the motorist and is sometimes encouraged by insurance companies to assist in handling claims.
- CCTV coverage extends beyond the boundaries of your domestic property
- Dashcams are used to proactively record and report what the driver considers to be poor or bad driving
such use is not classified as "domestic purposes".
This does not mean that you are breaching the legislation, but does mean that you must comply with the requirements of the legislation. This will require you to understand the law and your obligations, including:
- complying with the data protection principles;
- managing the retention of the footage;
- erecting signage;
- having an entry in the register of controllers and processors maintained by the Commissioner; and
- complying with the rights of individuals in respect of their personal data, including subject access requests and the right to erasure.
Failure to comply with the legislation may result in action by the Commissioner, including the imposition of penalties. In addition, if the processing causes damage or distress to other people it may render the householder liable to claims for compensation. For example, the Scottish Court awarded damages of more than £17,000 in total for the "extreme stress" people suffered as a result of the "highly intrusive" use of CCTV systems by the owner of a neighbouring property.
Private individuals should therefore carefully consider their use of surveillance equipment and, if installation is necessary, only use it in a responsible way that respects the privacy of others.
The use of images recorded for domestic purposes
Whilst there are many appropriate uses of images recorded for your "domestic purposes", this does not include the public uploading or streaming of footage of individuals, or information that may identify individuals, such as vehicle licence plates. Such actions in most cases is unlikely to be lawful and will require further justification.
Any CCTV or dashcam footage can be released to the police if it is relevant to an incident being investigated.