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Does Neighbour's Camera Contravene Privacy Rights?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 12 May 2018 | 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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Hullie - Your Question:
My neighbour has put up 5 cameras. 2 of them are on my property as we live in 2 story flats. I live upstairs and my flat is on the end facing the car park. So he as put 2 cameras up on my flat without even asking me if this was ok. 1 of my other neighbours as told me that he is watching everyone who comes and goes. And he is watching me more. Because in the passed we have had a run in with each other. And he as told my neighbour he is out to get me. What is the law on this please because I thing he as no right to putting them up and he is storking me. He as treated me and 2 of the neighbours in the passed 1 as moved out due the the hassle from this man with the cameras

Our Response:
As outlined in the article, 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. If your neighbour has fixed the camera to your property, then a polite letter asking your neigghbour to move the camera may work in the first instance. If your neighbour doesn't agree, then you may wish to report this to the police who will investigate.
YourPrivacy - 14-May-18 @ 10:33 AM
My neighbour has put up 5 cameras. 2 of them are on my property as we live in 2 story flats. I live upstairs and my flat is on the endfacing the car park. So he as put 2 cameras up on my flatwithout even asking me if this was ok.1 of my other neighbours as told me that he is watching everyonewho comes and goes.And he is watching me more.Because in the passed we have had a run in with each other. And he as told my neighbour he is out to get me.What is the law on this pleasebecause I thinghe as no right to putting them up and he is storkingme.He as treatedme and 2 of the neighbours in the passed 1 as moved outdue the the hassle from this manwith the cameras
Hullie - 12-May-18 @ 9:05 PM
Glow - Your Question:
My neighbors have been recording me and my family for 7 months now there has been no break ins no trouble whatsoever they are just doing it to harass and intimidate me and my family I don’t no what they are using it for I have a little girl who is ten and grandkids my daughter is scared, been to the police they told my to contact the housing who have told her to take it down which she hasn’t I’m disabled and can’t take anymore can you help me or give me some advice pls

Our Response:
If the housing association have asked your neighbour to remove the CCTV and your neighbour hasn't, 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 causing harassment before action can be taken.
YourPrivacy - 30-Apr-18 @ 2:20 PM
@Glow It is perfectly legal for neighbours to have CCTV today especially when neighbourhood disputes are so prevalent. If your neighbour has CCTV it will record 24/24 as that’s what it’s meant to do. Maybe your neighbour has a very good reason for needing to have it. It may be a good idea to educate your children if they are scared on the acceptance of CCTV as cameras today are in most public places. Also being disabled doesn’t provide people fromexemption of the law.
Gassygaskin - 29-Apr-18 @ 7:22 AM
My neighbors have been recording me and my family for 7 months now there has been no break ins no trouble whatsoever they are just doing it to harass and intimidate me and my family I don’t no what they are using it for I have a little girl who is ten and grandkids my daughter is scared, been to the police they told my to contact the housing who have told her to take it down which she hasn’t I’m disabled and can’t take anymore can you help me or give me some advice pls
Glow - 28-Apr-18 @ 11:26 AM
My neighbors have been watching my every move in my house. Started last year. I can't take it any more. They won't talk to me. The man lives there with his mom and girlfriend. The gf is not mature mentally. I am the only thing that keeps her busy. They are fine letting her do this so they don't have to keep her busy. No ethics/morals going way back with these neighbors. It wouldn't be quite as bad if she wasn't SO LOUD. Then I could ignore better. I am not tech savant and I live alone.I knew they could see in but until she moved in I didn't know the extent. She started screaming her showers are open. This was every time I took one. I have a frosted glass window with black out blinds. She watched everything from cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming, eating, anything with loud put downs. Booing, clapping etc. I heard him in the back yard with his buddies and my showers. I could go on and on. Last night we watched a few movies. I opened my sewing box on the table, in their view and she started yelling. Told him I did on purpose. I'm losing my mind. I hide in the back bedrooms. Stay in bed. I need help. I would love to catch them. Not sure what I need to prove it. Talked to police last year, laws are on there side. I went down there last year on the day she walked in my house and took a box of crackers. I was in my back yard and heard her tell the mom she was going too. I didn't think she really would and by the time I got in she was gone. I usually lock my front screen but walked to the back cause I was pulling weeds and cutting grass. She had to see I didn't lock.Told the guy Frankie Minor we needed to talk. He said he'd be over but mom said no all I would do is hold what she did over his head.Went to police but since I didn't report when it happened They couldn't do anything. Not even keep it on record.Last night after the movies I turned all lights off to go to bed. Went to grab a cookie and she said here we go with the cookies. I'm tired. Any help, suggestions?I don't have a lot of $ but would hire someone who could help me prove. TY
Frankie - 30-Mar-18 @ 9:13 PM
Police have installed CCTV on neighbours house and it points straight into my property. Are police allowed to do this?
Lea - 27-Mar-18 @ 10:26 PM
@aliactgo - I probably wouldn't mess with the police. If you ignore their wishes and your neighbours complain again you could find yourself in court.
jean - 12-Mar-18 @ 10:17 AM
I have harassing neighbours and have put up a CCTV camera. I have one camera on my front door and the other camera on my parked car which also captures half of tow other cars - the cars of my neighbours on each side of me. The Policecameround and told me the one on the door is OK.But he one not he cars need to move down as it contravenes privacy and human rights laws. I said I looked online and as I am displaying a sticker and will let either of the other neighbours consult the footage should they wish that surely I am allowed as this is reducing crime in view of the harrasemtn case. The policeman disagreed. I might add that my CCTV caught him sitting his phone on audio record which he then turned over on a clipboard before entering my home, soI am not to sure that the police man was being correct. As he did not inform me of his recording. Can i have CCTV on my other parked car in this situation or not?
aliactgo - 11-Mar-18 @ 11:43 AM
Question: I live on a terraced street (on road parking only), where the front gardens are approximately 4 feet deep to the pavement. A neighbour has set up CCTV/Video camera from his front bedroom window which, due to the angle must only be filming the street and none of his actual property. Is this allowed? TIA
Bowyer123 - 18-Feb-18 @ 3:52 PM
I live in a maisonette on the 2nd &3rd floor. I have been burgled previously and have set up a ring 2 video doorbell on my front door on the 2nd floor, on looking the communal hallway right outside my front door. The downstairs communal security door is also always being kicked in, or left open as well. I've reported, w/o any joy, to the NIHE. Last time it happened I got a crime reference number, about a week or 2 ago, and THAT GOT THE DOOR FIXED PROMPTLY. From now on, with burglarys, anti-social behavior and other crime, I want to feel safe where I live. I live in Northern Ireland, ???? UK ???? What does the law say in this situation?
CB007 - 8-Feb-18 @ 1:28 AM
Cristal - Your Question:
I have4ecently had issues with my neigh ours they have cctv on there house but have a car parked in between out houses with the dashcam facing my driveway I'm uncomfortable with this as I have 4 children under 7 and it's an invasion of my person space do you have any ideas as to what I can do if reported them as theyv also been verbally abusive

Our Response:
You can see more via the Ask the Police link here and here , which should help you answer your question.
YourPrivacy - 6-Feb-18 @ 2:05 PM
I have4ecently had issues with my neigh ours they have cctv on there house but have a car parked in between out houses with the dashcam facing my driveway I'm uncomfortable with this as I have 4 children under 7 and it's an invasion of my person space do you have any ideas as to what I can do if reported them as theyv also been verbally abusive
Cristal - 31-Jan-18 @ 6:56 PM
@ - seems a bit of an odd thing to do - to film the street. Go to your local police station and ask - they might investigate.
OMc - 15-Jan-18 @ 12:29 PM
My neighbour (who happens to be under investigation for antisocial behaviour) has sticky taped some type of webcam to their window. They are the top floor if a four floor block of flats and they are filming public areas mostly the street. I am sure this is covered by the dpa, the camera is not filming any of their private property, because their private property is inside the flat and nowhere else. I'm kinda freaking out cos they can see when I leave my property as well as seeing anyone who comes into my property. I'm pretty sure this comes under the 2013 act. What can I do if anything?
Cakey - 13-Jan-18 @ 10:35 PM
My parking bay is outside my bullying neighbours front door. So her cctv above her door is directing pointing at my car & not down at her door. My 13 year old daughter is in view of this camera every time we go out, she feels very scared. Is there a law that covers youngsters being filmed on cctv please? It doesn’t bother me although it is uncomfortable walking outside this woman’s house. I’ve approached my Housing Association. They agreed to move my bay in 2013 but they never carried out their promise. I’ve been promised since October 2017 that the bays will be swapped & it’s taking so long. Any advice would be gratefully received, thanks.
Bloomers - 26-Dec-17 @ 8:54 PM
@Laura - if the camera is pointing at your window and it is attached to their house then report them. But you can't report someone for watching you, or picking up a camera and taking a photo. You have to be able to prove they are covertly watching you.
MaddyG - 22-Dec-17 @ 12:17 PM
@seansean - The Data Protection Act will be in force if you wish to fly a drone with a surveillance camera attached. If you collect images of individuals who can be identified, even if it is unintentional, action could be taken against you.
GJ - 21-Dec-17 @ 9:48 AM
Surely drone plus camera law applies here? I can't take pics from my drone of private property/persons without permission. Or is the Law really a donkey?
seansean - 20-Dec-17 @ 12:34 AM
Surely drone plus camera law applies here, or is the Law really a donkey?
seansean - 20-Dec-17 @ 12:30 AM
hi your info seems to be incorrect , as cctv cameras that are only on your property are fine .But when they exceed your property they come under the data protection act , that means that anybody can ask for 90days footage off there cctv and they have to produce it within 40 days.also they need your permission to have a camera overlooking your property law changes where made !
towbarman - 15-Dec-17 @ 7:05 AM
After an 8-month campaign of stalking, harassment and trespassing from our voyeuristic neighbours, they have now upped their abuse campaign against us.The guy trespassed on our property in the middle of the night, banging at our back door.Two nights later, there were flood lights down the road, trained into our sitting room and bedroom to light up the rooms.We believe they were filming us watching tv,getting undressed in the bedroom etc.When I went to double check the locks against further attempted break-ins, on cue there was a high-pitched scream. Realise we were now being stalked in every room of our home.They sit in their car outside for hours on end, film into the back of our house from their garden and never, ever leave us alone.Our home is being treated like an extension of their property.We thought they would get bored - but they seem to be getting more and more excited by their stalking.We really didn't want any trouble but probably should have confronted them earlier.Now have no idea what to do.Can anyone advise please?
Justice - 1-Dec-17 @ 2:11 PM
We have had ongoingproblems with our neighbours across the road from us for a few months now with one of them being charged with disorder they look in our windows watch us when outside and today I have noticed a camera pointing right into our window I have reported them to the police before for harassment with no charge but this for me is a step to far I have small children I do not want them being filmed! Should I phone the police again about the camera?
Laura - 26-Nov-17 @ 10:22 PM
@Es - speak to yoru neighbours directly and ask why they have a camera pointing at your house and that it makes you feel uneasy. If they get funny with you or defensive, then ask the police to investigate.
Paddyf - 20-Nov-17 @ 1:43 PM
A tripod with a camera has been placed in our neighbours bedroom a few days agowhich faces directly towards my house every time we seem them they don’t smile or anything they just stand there and stare I don’t what to do
Es - 19-Nov-17 @ 2:29 PM
The writer states "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." However, since action under the human rights act can only be taken against a public authority, this statement is utterly inaccurate and wholly misleading twaddle. Don't go believing everything you read - especially online.
Lawyer - 12-Nov-17 @ 5:56 PM
Our next door neighbours have been filming us continually inside or house with a camera concealed in their car which is permanently parked directly outside our house.They have a paved driveway and car spaces nearer to them.These neighbours have never spoken to me.They have spoken to my husband twice to enquire about our business, but their interest in us has escalated from nosy neighbour to Peeping Toms. We accept cameras used as surveillance for their property, but filming directly into our home is voyeuristic.This week when I returned to the house a 'friend' (?) was standing opposite the road I walk down.As I approached he made a gesture over to the next door neighbours to start filming. A large mobile home was parked opposite (friends of theirs?) it appeared they were something to do with this filming.Our privacy is being invaded - what can we do?
Justice - 9-Sep-17 @ 1:07 PM
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
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