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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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I feel my privacy rights are being abused by neighbours CCTV

Resolved Question:

I feel my privacy rights are being abused by neighbours CCTV camera pointing directly at our house!! The camera can see straight into our living room causing intimidation and unease!!

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Does it point elsewhere as well?
I presume it isn't just one camera?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, It points into our front garden and living room only!!

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the information.
Privacy laws do not assist here but there is a possibility that harassment might. There has been case law that has suggested that CCTV focused upon a particular private property can amount to harassment but it wouldn’t apply if it were just watching the public street.
The law upon privacy in the UK is still quite limited.
Its fair to say that the private citizen has a good deal of protection against State surveillance.  Both the police and the local Councils and other emanations of the State need Court authorities before they can conduct surveillance upon a target and that is not usually given lightly.  But the private individual or company is free to erect CCTV cameras almost to their heart's content.
If a CCTV camera captures a person doing something really private - e.g using a bathroom - then there may be an offence of voyeurism.  Unless it goes that far there are very few limits upon their freedom to do so.
There is suggestion that the Human Rights legislation may develop in this direction but it has not really happened yet.  The HRA regulates the relationship between the State and the citizen.  It does not usually become involved in disputes between two citizens and the Courts are reluctant to extend this jurisdiction.
As a general rule in the UK there needs to be a relationship of confidence between the party who's privacy is invaded and the invader before there is any cause of action.  If there is none then any person is free to take photographs of any other with or without consent.  The case of Douglas v Hello! did seem to suggest that the Court of Appeal accepted that the HRA could be used to underpin a freestanding right of privacy.  However, the later case of Wainwright v Home Office was a decision of the House of Lords in which it was held that there is no general tort of privacy.  There have been other cases that have undermined Wainwright but they have generally involved the police or the local Council.  Its much harder to apply this to the private individual.
The Data Protection Act does not apply to private CCTV so that gives the watched person no protection.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69990
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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