CCTV laws: what regulations apply to the use of your CCTV surveillance cameras?

CCTV surveillance cameras are a highly effective way to increase your home security. This footage gives your home protection from crime and provides images of all the goings-on on your property. However, the use of private home security cameras is controlled by strict data protection systems. Make sure you’ve got the correct information if you’ve recently installed surveillance cameras in your home.

How does UK law define and regulate CCTV surveillance systems?

According to the UK government website, a CCTV surveillance system includes the CCTV cameras themselves, footage storage devices, recorded images and any other devices that are linked to your CCTV security system.

Your main motivation for installing CCTV cameras is, of course, to increase the security levels on your own private property.

However, if you use surveillance cameras in and around your home, you need to make sure you know if they’re recording any footage of public roads, spaces that residents share, or any images of other peoples’ private property.

If this is the case, the EU’s recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – as well as the UK’s Data Protection Act (DPA) – will apply to your home’s CCTV footage and the way you use the images your system has recorded.

As the owner and installer of your home security cameras, you are responsible for legally managing their footage and any personal information that your surveillance systems record.

In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) outlines guidelines for the use of private CCTV surveillance systems. Visit the ICO website for more information about how your home security cameras must comply with personal data protection laws.

It’s not just private home CCTV surveillance that’s subject to data protection law: the police and other organisations and authorities also have to handle their footage and systems according to the established regulations.

Their CCTV cameras may well deliberately record footage of public spaces in order to increase security. This means the general public’s privacy and personal data is unavoidably included in the footage.

What are your rights in relation to private CCTV surveillance cameras?

You might become aware that a private home’s CCTV cameras have recorded footage of you.

In fact, data protection law actually states that home owners must let people know that they have CCTV security cameras capturing images on their property.

If you know that the owners of a property have CCTV images of you, you can request to view any footage where you appear.

You can also request that the home owner erases any personal information they have about you and ask that they do not record any CCTV footage of you in future.

Of course, altering a CCTV surveillance set-up can be complex. For this reason, the home owner may not always be able to fully meet your requests regarding their CCTV security footage.

If you’re installing your own CCTV surveillance system at home, you’ll need to make sure you respond appropriately to these data protection requests.

Data protection regulations may also apply to home video doorbell systems. If you’ve got a smart doorbell installed as part of your home security set-up, make sure you’ve got all the information you need to handle this footage legally. If you’re considering increasing your home security, why not try a Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell?

How to install your home CCTV surveillance system in line with data protection regulations

As a home owner, you’re well within your right to install surveillance cameras to increase security on your private property.

As we’ve seen, depending on the footage that your CCTV cameras record, you’ll need to comply with data protection regulations.

Below, you’ll find several points to bear in mind when installing a legal and effective home CCTV system:

  • Can you angle your CCTV cameras so that they only take footage of your private property?
  • Can you reduce the numbers of surveillance cameras around the property, so they only film strategic locations? (The home’s front door, the garage, the boundary of the private property, for example.)
  • Have you asked your neighbours’ opinion about your home security cameras?
  • Have you placed signs or stickers around your property, to let the general public know that there are CCTV cameras recording footage in the area?
    *If your home surveillance cameras unavoidably record footage of public spaces, have you let the relevant authorities know?
  • Have you told any individuals that you employ in your home that you have CCTV cameras set up?
  • Do your surveillance cameras record audio, as well as images? Protection of personal information also covers audio recordings, as these can really intrude on people’s privacy. Why not simply turn off the audio recording feature on your home security cameras?
  • Make sure you – and the rest of the people in your home – know how important it is to handle your CCTV camera footage safely and legally. That way, you can make sure everyone on your property is up to date with data protection requirements.
  • Make sure you periodically erase any footage that is no longer needed (this is a legitimate reason for not being able to provide footage to people who might later ask for it, as deleting your security cameras’ old images is a way of safely handling their personal information).

Home security cameras can be complex to set up, aside from the data protection regulations involved. To simplify your home security, it might be an idea to consider other systems, before you go ahead with CCTV surveillance cameras.

Improved lighting around your property could help to deter crime, as well as security devices such as alarms and sensors that monitor when your home’s doors and windows are opened.

Check out the Netatmo home security range to browse these options, and more!

At Netatmo, we take personal data protection seriously. If you’re considering installing home security surveillance cameras, take a look at our Smart Indoor and Outdoor Cameras. This range of security cameras has a secure storage card built in, so only you will be able to access the footage recorded on your private property.