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Does Neighbour's Camera Contravene Privacy Rights?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 4 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Does Neighbour's Camera Contravene Privacy Rights?

Q.

A neighbour has set up a digital camera in his front window looking out to the street. We've seen it pointing only on to our property which borders on to a path used by schoolchildren and people coming to a parade of shops.

He can see the shops also by just moving the camera a fraction on the tripod. Does this contravene any regulations and is there anything we can do?

(G.D, 27 February 2009)

A.

There is nothing inherently illegal about your neighbour deciding to set up a CCTV or another type of digital camera or other video recording device to deter crime, or in some cases to keep records of antisocial behaviour in the neighbourhood.

There’s nothing you can do to stop this neighbour from using their digital camera, it may be that they have reason to want to keep an eye on their property, for crime and anti-social behaviour reasons.

Do you know why the neighbour has set the camera up? Has he had problems with the school children for example, and might want to watch them to see if he can catch any troublemakers? Or has he been a victim of theft or vandalism? All of these can be legitimate reasons for his being able to justify using the camera.

It is Possible to Break the Law by Using a Camera or CCTV at Home

The only way that you might be able to take action against your neighbour for recording you and other neighbours, is if you have reason to believe that the camera isn’t there for security reasons.

Having a standard CCTV set up installed in your home doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of the Data Protection Act. If you think that your neighbour may have other and more sinister motives for wanting to have his camera pointing at you – you could use other parts of the law to try and persuade him that you don’t want to be photographed going about your everyday business.

What to Do

If the camera was aimed directly at your garden or another part of your property, you could be able to take action against your nosy neighbour under the Human Rights Act. You would have to be able to prove that your neighbour was violating your privacy by watching you with his camera, and that his use of the camera could be construed as harassment or voyeurism.

You would need to make a complaint to the local police in the first instance, who might ask him to adapt his viewing habits. He may not realise that he is alarming you, so it’s probably worth having a word with him before you resort to these measures.

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GEEZE - Your Question:
I am feeling very uneasy about a neighbour that has not been long moved into the street and has put a cctv camera in his front window which is situated right opposite my front window.I live in a terraced street,old pit houses and they are very close together.I don't know how to approach this man and tell him that I am feeling very,very uncomfortable with this as we are a very quiet street,alot of older folk.I could understand it if it was in the rear of his property but its not,I also have my bedroom above my living room.I am on my own as my partner works,its not just me in the street but everyone on my side of the street feel a little unnerved by it.Thereee is no local vandals or anti-social behaviour in our street either.It's getting me down and paranoid and i've started to keep my blinds very low down in my window so as a result of this I'm starting to feel like a prisoner in my own home !!!! Please someone give me some helpful advice

Our Response:
As specified in the article, ideally, it would be better if you could speak to the neighbours politely, explain the situation to them and request that they make certain modifications to the CCTV system so that it does not infringe on your privacy. If you feel uncomfortable, perhaps one of your other neighbours may wish to speak to your neighbour directly on yours and their behalf. If your neighbour with the CCTV reacts adversely, then you have every right to contact your local authority or local police force and have them come out to investigate. They would obviously need to be satisfied that the installation was basically causing harassment, perhaps even bordering on voyeurism, and they could then take action.
YourPrivacy - 7-Aug-17 @ 11:38 AM
I am feeling very uneasy about a neighbour that has not been long moved into the street and has put a cctv camera in his front window which is situated right opposite my front window.I live in a terraced street,old pit houses and they are very close together.....I don't know how to approach this man and tell him that i am feeling very,very uncomfortable with this as we are a very quiet street,alot of older folk....I could understand it if it was in the rear of his property but its not,I also have my bedroom above my living room.I am on my own as my partner works,its not just me in the street but everyone on my side of the street feel a little unnerved by it...Thereee is no local vandals or anti-social behaviour in our street either.....It's getting me down and paranoid and i've started to keep my blinds very low down in my window so as a result of this i'm starting to feel like a prisoner in my own home !!!! Please someone give me some helpful advice
GEEZE - 4-Aug-17 @ 8:22 PM
Looking for a bit advise I use the manything app on my iPhone to record my path and gate at night only gets used when I'm sleeping the reason for this is last weekend at 2.20 am someone tryed to access my property it scared me Am I breaking the law doing this and also do I need a security sign to let the neighbours know I'm recording at night Any advise would be appreciated thank you
Dreena - 27-Jul-17 @ 5:04 PM
Jackie - Your Question:
My friend and neighbour is having trouble with the lady who lives next door, the lady has had a large cctv camera put in and we're almost sure it covers my friends front garden is it Legal for her to record on someone to record your property without asking for permission '' Jackie

Our Response:
The police may be able to help here. They can check the positioning of the camera to see whether it is deemed invasive and also request the owner of the CCTV shows them the footage. Please also see gov.uk link here.
YourPrivacy - 25-Jul-17 @ 1:57 PM
My friend and neighbour is having trouble with the lady who lives next door, the lady has had a large cctv camera put in and we're almost sure it covers my friends front garden is it Legal for her to record on someone to record your property without asking for permission '' Jackie
Jackie - 24-Jul-17 @ 9:30 PM
Camera in my window local council waste of time I rent they own like to no wats wats do I get a solicitor or go to jail?
Andy - 24-Jul-17 @ 7:55 PM
Iv been having trouble with my neighbour since the first Fay I moved in they are very racist shouting viol things at me and my partner banging on my door shouting in my face complaing about my dogs so I got shock Colliers for them so they don't bark I stays home all day every day so I clean up straight away after they go to the toilet there making my life a misery if it's not one thing its another now they put camera s up like there the victims and every weekend they drunk comes around and starts again
Lisa - 22-Jul-17 @ 6:39 PM
Our neighbours put up cctv cameras back and front of there house. It overlooks 7 gardens at least the way the house is situated. We have our house up for sale because we feel spied on. I was speaking to a neighbours yesterday and they feel violate the same as us where can we go for for help spoken to local police who had a look at the cctv and they said it was set just seeing own garden. My neighbours have seen the eye moving around.
Worm - 8-Jul-17 @ 9:35 PM
Hi,my neighbour has for the past year been recording us with somkind of infra red/thermal device I've only found out by them speaking to loudly in the garden.they have it set up with their security system which in every room of their house and can follow us all round our house bedrooms/bathrooms included.there son stays up all night watching and even all day there's not much that they miss as you can hear them laughing and even telling/showing friends and family at first I thought it was not possible but now I know for 100% it is,as I've sat in various locations around out house and heard through the wall there he is can you see him? Although he's set it up with his security he obviously knows what he's doing when he's spying as well.why can someone think its OK to do this when there is no reason of something we have done as in play loud music or anti social behaviour.what can I do as this is starting to make me constantly feel paranoid that someone's watching me and its affecting my sleep as well
Dazz - 26-Jun-17 @ 1:45 PM
I'm just curious for your opinion on this issue.We've had ongoing issues with our neighbours for 5 years,18 months ago they started to blatantly film with a cctv camera into both our lounge window and now we've been told our bedroom window.We reported this too Derbyshire police who said that we should be happy that they are thinking of the security of our home.We asked about privacy issues and was told they didn't really care. So alte last year we was that fed up we decided to start waving at the cameras, we now face harassment charges for waving at a camera that is pointing in our house, apparently the police are using the cctv footage as evidence. All I would really like to know is who could have authorised the use of the camera,Derbyshire Police have been asked for a FOI request which they have returned but no mention of who would authorise the cameras.
bakerboy1 - 28-Apr-17 @ 7:27 AM
How do you find out if your neighbor has registered cameras.
Shell - 28-Apr-17 @ 5:36 AM
My neighbor has gone from one extreme to another. I have an issue with putting a camera up only a person away ,towards my back door entrance and backyard. i forwardly told her to take it off. ling story short,,she calls police and takes a video cam on me at my window , it did get heated only because she doesn't communicate back and i know she does it intentionally because she has a nasty picture in her window towards us. The police says she can do this???
Bella - 27-Mar-17 @ 1:05 AM
My neighbor has installed a doorbell\ camera monitor on his door that has a built in motion detectors.His apartment is located directly across from me so every time I open my door or enter my door space I am being monitored. The other day he knocked on my door so that i would open my door and be photographed as he casually removed himself from the doorway allowing his camera to photograph me in my robe. I simply shut the door and thought nothing of it until now. Can I take legal action against him for invasion of privacy?
Jd - 3-Feb-17 @ 9:59 PM
I've been having problems with my neighbor since the day I moved in my apartment. They have torn up my flower beds, put their vehicles directly in front of my apartment to keep my company from parking there when they visit and now they have put a camera in their window and I suspect it's so they can record my visitors coming and going, in an attempt to take the video to the apartment manager to get me evicted.Is that legal? What legal recourse do I have?
Amy - 7-Jan-17 @ 6:02 AM
We have had problems with our neighbours for over 18 months, and had to seek advice from Environmental Health and the police on a number of occasions.The man 2 days ago accused me of looking at his kids from the window.Actually it was my husband who looked out of the window as he came in, no kids with him, and it was not deliberate, unlike their actions towards us, have catalogued what has happened as it is on a daily basis, verbal abuse, threats, coming out to listen to conversations between my husband and myself and visitors, etc.My husband was checking if it was raining before he closed the blind, which is something I do whether at the front or back, this was after 7.00pm.He came round and thumped on our door, which was when he accused me.I was downstairs watching a programme on TV with the curtains closed, but he did not believe me!Things got heated, my husband went outside to continue the "conversation" and closed the door.I heard next door shouting, so rang the police, who came around within minutes, they were "in the area".They told us if this recurs then to ring them again.I am now frightened to open the curtains or blinds, in case of being accused of "watching their kids" or watching her (she is at home all day), or go outdoors in the garden when my husband is not there, and have to use the other door, which is further away from our garage and car.I also stay out if I have to go out, even if it means spending money or drifting around garden centres or shops just to waste time, when I could be at home doing things.On the other hand, she has got her next door neighbour spying on me, I actually heard her reporting what I had been doing!You could not make it up.On that night he admitted to videotaping me watching out of our window, and I have seen her taking photos of me in the garden.I have never taken photos of her kids, only her when she denied smoking over our fence and I have photos to prove she is lying.She also puts her butts into our garden, these I have taken photos of when they are all out, and she started a fire one day and all the smoke from the plastic chair she deliberately set fire to came into our bedroom.Can anyone advise what to do next, it is affecting our health?
CathyB - 2-Nov-16 @ 11:07 PM
I live in portland Oregon. I was recently evicted based on discrimination. My boyfriend is black and shortly after meeting him my neighbors started harrassing me. First they made complaints calling cops saying someone was fighting at 2am when cops came they seen no-one was home but me. They stop my company when leaving asking there business there and then call cops stating I'm running a drug house.once again cops came and stated they could see no drugs here.. I'm also HIV positive and once this was known I have been evicted because 6 tenants signed a petition wanting me out because they the tenants claim that this complex is an "old folks home" and I don't belong there.. Now 2 days ago I started hearing a dinging noise when I open my bedroom blinds or open .u front door or go outside. I noticed this morning that my neighbor that lives across me has 2 cameras mounted on his truck facing my front door..I also have a video record with landlord stating that I'm pretty much being discriminated against.. I am the first and ONLY tenant in 25 years that he has EVER evicted.. I'm scared to be in my own home.and scared that people are at my bedroom window..what can I do?? Please help me.
karen - 2-Sep-16 @ 6:08 PM
My neighbor has had hidden cameras viewing not just me but other neighbors. I the flicker throughout my house, including bathrooms. Caught him 2.5 years ago standing at his camera on a tripod aimed at my 3rd floor bathroom window, lit him up with a mirror. all of this after a rogue monkey was caught in the wooded lot between us. I believe this is where his lust of voyeuristic behavior began. I've complained to police only to be dismissed...asked if I live alone. I've tried everything I know to find these with no success. Who do I call out to find these cameras?
Lynn - 25-Aug-16 @ 6:01 PM
Coco - Your Question:
Hi my nowbungalow is in a cul-de-sac when I bought it the side of the bungalows garden opposite which is raised about 10ft had trees and shrubs so was completely private they have now removed the trees and made a patio area which now has them looking straight into my bungalow I've to keep my blinds close to protect now planning can I do anything ? I cannot put any fencing etc up as my front is open plan HELP

Our Response:
I can only suggest speaking to your neighbour in order to come to a solution, as there is no real privacy rights here. If your neighbour disagrees you may have to plant your own trees or shrubs in order to block the view. A landscape gardener may help you come up with a plan.
YourPrivacy - 25-Aug-16 @ 2:37 PM
Hi mynowbungalow is in a cul-de-sac when I bought it the side of the bungalows garden opposite which is raised about 10ft had trees and shrubs so was completely private they have now removed the trees and made a patio area whichnow has them looking straight into my bungalow I've to keep my blinds close to protectnow planning can I do anything ? I cannot put any fencing etc up as my front is open plan HELP
Coco - 20-Aug-16 @ 12:56 PM
Hi my bungalow is in a cul-de-sac when I bought it the side of the bungalows garden opposite which is raised about 10ft had trees and shrubs so was completely private they have now removed the trees and made a patio area which now has them looking straight into my bungalow I've to keep my blinds close to protect my privacy they have also built a brick step access off the pavement to this with no planning can I do anything ? I cannot put any fencing etc up as my front is open plan HELP
Coco - 20-Aug-16 @ 12:52 PM
There is now an update to CCTV Law regarding domestic properties. CCTV cameras used on a domestic property MUST NOT capture images beyond the boundary of that property. They MUST NOT record images from a neighbours garden OR passers by on the street. In December 2015, the Data Protection Law was updated to include domestic properties in the Data Protection Act, which means if your cameras are not restricted to the foundry's of your home, then it must be a registered system. However, you will also be contreveining Article 8 of the Human Rights Act if you are recording images outside of the boundary. Also on a final note, Audio Recording is not permitted on a domestic system and it is advised to turn it off.
AndyNWuk - 17-Aug-16 @ 7:59 AM
Hi, please help i live in tennanted with a private landlord, they want to sell 6 weeks early and have prospetive buyers come around, can i record them so they cant steal anything as all of my belongings are here, its not the best estate and i know someone will split up at least i could record a before and after and challenge them straight away...
Daz - 26-Jul-16 @ 12:35 PM
Trog - Your Question:
My neighbour has numerous ct camras in the front of his house as he has got several cars on his land which I understand but recently I have had a few mixed words with him now he has put a wide angle lens camra up in the rear of his garden which he says it's too keep an eye on his dog which would be okay but the camra is intruding on to my garden and my Lodges are not very happy, feel uncomfortable and won't go into the garden. Is there anything I can do as I'm worried that my lodges will leave and they have been living with me for many years and it's there home.

Our Response:
As specified in the article, it’s probably worth having a word with him or sending a letter to ask him to change the angle of his camera away from your house and keep a copy of the letter. If he does not respond, or refuses, then you can make a complaint to your local police.
YourPrivacy - 20-Jul-16 @ 12:57 PM
My neighbour has numerous ct camras in the front of his house as he has got several cars on his land which I understand but recently i have had a few mixed words with him now he has put a wide angle lens camra up in the rear of his garden which he says it's too keep an eye on his dog which would be okay but the camra is intruding on to my garden and my Lodges are not very happy, feel uncomfortable and won't go into the garden. Is there anything I can do as I'm worried that my lodges will leave and they have been living with me for many years and it's there home.
Trog - 19-Jul-16 @ 6:49 PM
In 2014 I was able to have an injunction placed against a neighbor that lives in my townhome community 2 doors down. This lady is our local crazy lady. The judge remembered her from the 80's from being in his courtroom. I ended up moving and renting my place to escape the lady but a divorce has caused my 11 year old daughter to be forced to move back. When my renters were moving she put surveillance night vision cameras up all around her place. I didn't realize until 2 months ago that she has a camera almost on her roofline pointed only at my townhome. My front door, my daughter's bedroom window and my daughters former homeschool room windows are all in view. It's not point down at her property, her patio, or her back sliding door. I have asked the police to do something about this and they say she has every right to point cameras anywhere she wants. I see this as an extension of her harassment and intimidation of me and our neighborhood. They refuse to even write a report up regarding the issue for me to have paperwork to take to the judge. Help please!?!I am in the state of Florida
Jennifer - 17-Jun-16 @ 6:07 AM
My neighbor has a shed against my fence with a small openning to allow a video camera to view directly into my bedroom and bathroom windows. He and his son have physicaly attacted me in recent past. He has accused me of having whorse, selling drugs, and many other illegal activities. Hes taken videos and pictures of my girlfriend, nieces, brothers and friends. All on my property or parked in front of my house. When confronted he makes jestures like he is going to hit them then starts yelling and cussing while calling the police. He has thrown rocks and sticks at their cars. He has even falsly reported that i had a gun while i was working on my girlfriends car. When police arrived all he got was a warning. When he and his son attacked me i had just been released from the hospital from a heart attack and they knew this. Again they give his son a warning and could not find him. I cant afford a restraining order. What do i do?
Guarded - 4-Jun-16 @ 8:54 AM
I have restraining order on my neighbors for threatening and pulling a gun at my 13 yr.Old. Now my neighbor are retiliating by flipping off and thriwibg gang signs into my cctv cameras.furthere more I believe that they have filed complaints against me ib retaliation. I have no idea what they have on me to complaun about. My cameras are in compliance Iwas told by my llocal law enforcement officials. Police have been at my residence while im not there. Leavibg a note ti cobtact number on card. Card state its a cival matter .what are my options an what can I do to protect myself from what ever conplaint was made against me. My neighbor are gang members they sell drugs and have illegal activity ib plain view of my cameras.please will someone help guide me in thedirectionImust go to fight against tgis type of abuse. Is it another type if harrassment. Thank you in advance.
noe - 29-May-16 @ 8:06 AM
I have trouble with the people next door about a strip of land between our garages and I think they now have cctv in their kitchen near the windows. there is a monitor (I think) it is....it glows a vivid blue glow.. Can anyone tell me if this is a camera.
pip - 23-May-16 @ 11:29 PM
Sweeney33 - Your Question:
Hi I have old neighbours who own there house we are council the new neighbours have been having trouble with them with the old neighbours intimidating them so they have cameras up now the old people next door have put cameras up but there camera is facing right on to my property ie my front door we don't talk to them as they have a habit of reporting us all the time we keep yourself to yourself ignore them and don't talk to them they have started inirimidating us now aswell bit then they play the victim I have 3 young kids so I feel we are being watched 24/7 they even stand behind there gate earwigging at my conversations I have no privacy whatsoever especially now. And the worse of all they used to spy behind there nets before the cameras but they issue is between the two neighbours and I'm stuck in the middle can I do anything to get the camera looking away from my house they haven't even asked me permission to have it look at my house thank you

Our Response:
This is a similar matter to the comment below, to which I can give the same respsonse. I think in your case I would have a word with the Housing Association directly in order to see whether they are contravening any of the tenancy agreement. Otherwise, your only option is to take the advice of the last sentence in the article, i.e 'you would need to make a complaint to the local police in the first instance, who might ask your neighbours to adapt their viewing habits.'And/or possibly have a word with them first and ask them to move the cameras so they are not so near your house.
YourPrivacy - 18-May-16 @ 12:20 PM
Hi I have old neighbours who own there house we are councilthe new neighbours have been having trouble with them with the old neighbours intimidating them so they have cameras up now the old people next door have put cameras up but there camera is facing right on to my property ie my front door we don't talk to them as they have a habit of reporting us all the time we keep yourself to yourself ignore them and don't talk to them they have started inirimidating us now aswell bit then they play the victim I have 3 young kids so I feel we are being watched 24/7 they even stand behind there gate earwigging at my conversations I have no privacy whatsoever especially now. And the worse of all they used to spy behind there nets before the cameras but they issue is between the two neighbours and I'm stuck in the middle can I do anything to get the camera looking away from my house they haven't even asked me permission to have it look at my house thank you
Sweeney33 - 17-May-16 @ 6:53 PM
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