Each year sees a growth in the number of people opting for home CCTV security systems and whilst the benefits are second to none, it brings with it comprehensive legislation for the installation and managing of them too. Introduced in the UK back in 2012 along with a Code of Conduct in 2013, CCTV Legislation is designed to balance the need for security cameras and the publics’ right to privacy. Many people are not aware of the responsibilities involved in having CCTV systems in their home, including the understanding that video recordings are also covered by the Data Protection Act, however, it is important to know if you have CCTV cameras already installed or thinking of doing so in the future.
CCTV Legislation is split into 3 main sections; The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, The surveillance Camera Code of Practice 2013 (The ‘SCCOP’ and The Data Protection Act, whilst enforcement of these is the responsibility of The Information Commissioner’s Office, otherwise known as the ‘ICO’. If you fail to comply with your obligations under the data protection laws, these can be subject to a fine or even legal action by any affected individuals.
The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice 2013 (The ‘SCCOP’) was developed to prevent any misuse of surveillance and although primarily focuses on commercial and public surveillance it is also broadened to cover domestic CCTV too. It is there to prevent or lessen the likelihood of intrusion into an individual’s privacy and this can include situations where the camera footage scope includes surveillance of a public footbath for example.
Taking SCCOP into account, when you are deciding to opt for a security camera for your home, it is important to know exactly why you want CCTV and the areas you want it to monitor – i.e. front and back entrances, garages, etc. It is also beneficial to tell your neighbors you are installing CCTV as they are the most likely to feature on the videos outside of your own household and therefore have the right to complain should they feel their privacy is compromised. Position your CCTV Camera for minimal intrusion such as avoiding a neighbor’s home or if this is not possible, you should consider privacy masking which is a technology that ‘blanks’ out sensitive areas on the recordings. If your system only captures within your boundary then the CCTV laws and regulations do not apply. However, if they do capture a public footpath, street or neighbor’s home then the Data Protection Act will apply and you will need to ensure your use of CCTV system complies with these laws.
According to Data Protection Laws, all home security system owners are to use the system responsibly, ensuring to protect other people’s privacy and they must take full responsibility for its functioning and use. The law gives individuals the right to see the information held about them, which includes CCTV recordings, therefore please bear this in mind if it does capture footage outside of your property boundary. The ICO receives many complaints from people, including neighbors, are who genuinely concerned about CCTV systems being used to spy on them.
CCTV recordings should also not be used to any purpose other than for the protection of your property and must be kept secure with restricted access to them. Older CCTV recordings should be deleted or not kept longer than needed (recommended 31 days) and not to share recordings publicly e.g. on social media. Audio recording is also considered an invasion of privacy and is strongly discouraged where possible.
Owners of CCTV footage should also ensure the date and time are accurately set and should be regularly maintained to ensure they comply with GDPR and DPA.
Having a home CCTV system installed correctly is as crucial as its usage, as all CCTV installations must comply with the UK CCTV legislation laid out by the DPA. One of the surest ways to ensure your home CCTV system is compliant is to have it installed by a reputable security company.
At Key Access Locksmith, we understand the importance of compliance and can provide expert advice on which system would be most appropriate for your home. Our friendly team will also provide well-informed advice and training on how to operate your home CCTV after installation to ensure you know the ins and outs of the system before we leave your property.
Key Access Locksmith can also provide regular maintenance which is important to ensure you are still complying with the CCTV laws and regulations as well as keeping the system in top condition and working correctly as it should be.
Legislation and compliance is always a complicated subject but should you be considering home CCTV systems and not sure where to start, contact Key Access Locksmith for further advice and we will be happy to help!