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JC
JC, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  UK Solicitor
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I am a leaseholder in a second-floor flat in the London

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I am a leaseholder in a second-floor flat in the London Borough of Barnet. I have recently been the victim of two crimes of thaft/vandalsim against my car which is parked on the street outside the propert. I have decided to install CCTV cameras to cover the front yard and side path of the house, as well as the on-street parking area. I wrote to the freeholder to ask permission for this. I was informed that permission would probably be forthcoming, but I would need to present a 'copy of an email/ letter from the local authority / the police stating that that installing private CCTV dose not contravene any local planning or privacy laws.' Since I don't think either the police or the council will provide such a letter, where can I find a legal text that will provide this confirmation? Is there an extract from a law or local government regulations that would confirm this?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JC replied 3 months ago.

Hi there

Domestic CCTV usually is exempt from the Data Protection Act. However, if your camera covers, even partially, any areas beyond the boundaries of your property, such as neighbouring gardens or the street, then it will not be exempt from the Data Protection Act (DPA) under the domestic purposes exemption. This does not mean that you are breaching the DPA but it does mean that you might need to register as a date controller with the Information Commissioner's Office , annuall fee for which is £35, follow this link https://ico.org.uk/registration/cctv

This is because as the data controller for the footage, individuals do have the right to request a copy of it from you under the DPA, if you collect their personal data.

You can find more info on their website.

Hope this helps

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hello JC,Thank you for your answer, which led me to the ICO website, where I found a similarly worded explanation. However both the ICO text and your own are somewhat ambiguous. You said‘…if your camera covers… any areas beyond the boundaries of your property, such as neighbouring gardens or the street,’ then I might need to register as a data controller with the Information Commissioner's Office. 'This is because as the data controller for the footage, individuals do have the right to request a copy of it from you under the DPA, if you collect their personal data.'Clearly, as the primary purpose of the cameras is to protct my car while it is parked on the street, then I 'might' indeed need to register. On what does that 'might' depend? Does it mean that I will only have to register if I collect private individuals' personal data? Or does it really mean that I definitely will have to register, whatever the case? And what does 'personal data' mean? If my camera films a private individual, whose identity is not known to me, as they walk down the street beside my parked car, have I then collected their personal data, just by owning/controling an electronic image of them? By the same token, do I have the right to request a copy of the footage from any other camera which captures my image in a public place?Grateful if you could clarify these points.
Expert:  JC replied 3 months ago.

Hi there

In this instance 'personal data' means any CCTV footage of other individuals that will be kept on your drive. I presume you want to record CCTV footage. In that case you will be 'collecting private individuals' personal data. However, s.36 of the Data Protection Act states "Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs are exempt from the data protection principles". Usually CCTV kits that come with hard drives do not keep recorded footage for longer than 30 days depending the size of the drive. So you probably should be fine as long as you do not disclose any footage of other people and also comply with the ICO's guidance on the use and storage of footage.

To answer your other question, technically you could request a copy of the footage from any other CCTV, if the owner of the CCTV is registered as a 'data controller' with ICO. But in practice, this is not so easy because you would need to satisfy the data controller that you are entitled to the footage. Such requests are common when its disclosure is required by law or made in connection with legal proceedings (e.g. cctv captured a crime or a road traffic accident) - see s35 of the Data Protection Act. It is unlikely that someone will knock on your door to request a copy of your cctv footage just so they can check how they look or walk in the footage.

However, in your case problems might arise if your CCTV camera is capturing your neighbour's garden/window and thereby compromising the privacy. They might complain. If not, then you should be fine as long as you film a small part of the road outside the property.

hope this helps

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
to sum up, because I intend the cameras to cover areas outside my property (including a section of the street where my and others' cars may be parked) it may be necessary to register the cameras with the ICO at a cost of £35 per year. If the footage is used responsibly, not publicly shared and not retained for longer than 30 days, this registration may not be necessary. However, given that the meaning of 'used responsibly' is a little vague, perhaps it would be simpler just to register the cameras with the ICO, to be on the safe side. In any case, it will be necessary to up a sign up saying that the area is protected by CCTV cameras. If both these things are done, and the footage is only available to me as the controller of the system and is not shared publicly, then I will be perfectly within the law to install the cameras. Does that sum up the situation accurately?
Expert:  JC replied 3 months ago.

Pretty much. However, you should speak to ICO before you register. Don't simply register with them as it may be that you could be exempt from the DPA based on the 'domestic purpose' cctv. Because once you register you will have to comply with your obligations as a data controller.

JC, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience: UK Solicitor
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