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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71145
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My ex partner recently accused me of stalking and harassment.

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My ex partner recently accused me of stalking and harassment. I was interviewed by the police under caution. There was no case to answer; I was working quite rightfully and legitimately in her neighbourhood.
It appears she has now installed a CCTV camera pointing (it would seem) past her 20 foot open front garden onto the road and pavements opposite her house. Needless to say, I am unable to confirm this.
Ironically, it is now I who feels that I am being "watched/recorded" every time I venture past her house, which I still need to do from time to time. I note that there is no signage indicating operation of a camera and neither is she registered as a days controller with ICO.
Is there anything I can do to prevent what I believe may be an ongoing invasion of my privacy? I have spoken with ICO and they said I needed to confirm the operation of the camera outside her boundary before they can take any action. Would a letter from a solicitor be likely to elicit this information? Would she be obliged to confirm the operation of the camera? Grateful for your advice.
William John
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Sadly, some young ladies keep the police on speed dial. Never get involved with an accuser. They will always turn on you in the end
Does she have a history of doing this to others?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo.

I have absolutely no intention of getting involved with this woman. As for her history, I've no idea; all I know is that I was reported to and interviewed by the police. As a jobbing plumber and builder I have lots of work in the area and I'm damned if I should go out of my way to avoid being potentially captured on camera.

Oh yes, I completely agree. This is one of the ways in which women like her abuse.
The trouble with this, to be wholly honest, is that you are wasting your time. The ICO are a toothless animal and anyway the DPA specifically excludes private CCTV.
The issue of watching alone is a complicated one but the case law has developed in a way that confirms it is not harassment. It could arguably be part of a course of conduct amounting to harassment but alone it is not enough.
Further, if her cameras are just watching the world at large then it isn't directed at you personally so not enough to amount to harassment. There is an argument, for instance, that if all cameras point at one house in particular then that amounts to harassment but that is not where we are.
Actually making allegations of an unmeritorious nature is a better point. That can amount to harassment.
You will find a very interesting article upon women who do that type of nonsense here
A better option is to get a solicitor to write to her warning her of the dangers of making further false allegations.
Also, that will make her wake up a bit.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** understanding is that domestic CCTV is exempt from the DPA UNLESS it is pointing/recording at the public at large. An EU case (Rynes?) In December altered ICO opinion.

Well, that may be correct but all that would mean is that she had to store it in accordance with the DPA.
CCTV is all around us.
Your wish is that she stops targeting you. Letters before action are often very effective. Apart from anything else, the put the onus back upon the accuser. At the moment she can always argue that the fact that you weren't charged doesn't mean you were innocent which is, of course, absolutely true. Letters before assert your innocence more publicly, warn her of the dangers of making further allegations making it clear that HER conduct is under scrutiny and also make the point that the fact that allegations are made doesn't mean they are true.
We can all wander into a police station and make an allegation. CCTV may be incontrovertible depending on what it shows. Noise from a face may be either true or false.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK, I get your point regarding the potential benefits of a Letter Before Action. That said, it would seem that she is breaking the DPA law by not displaying any signage and/or that she is not registered as a data controller. Could a letter before make reference to her requirements at the same time? BUT this is all based on an assumption that the camera is live and recording outside her boundary! Would that piece of information not be needed before anything could be done. If so, how?

Well, it could. You can say anything you like in these things.
The concern I have with that I suppose is what purpose does it serve. If she wants to have CCTV cameras because she is mad and paranoid then how does that encroach upon you unless she is watching your property for instance.
If you are intent then you would need to seek an injunction forcing her to hand over that information. In all likelihood they do record outside her boundaries as cameras do tend to.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She is "encroaching" on me each and every time I walk or drive past; that's the point! I either get her to stop or, if I can't, then she plays by the dpa rules!

In what way is it worse for you than anybody else?
And how does her CCTV differ from that of Tescos?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello back. Apologies for the intermission, I was busy on work.

I acknowledge the point you make vis a vis the tesco camera; but the difference is that tesco haven't reported me (falsely) to the police!

I guess what I'm trying to do is simply to challenge her use of the camera, whether it was set up with me in mind, as a deterrent or as a means of gathering "evidence" to support a further claim. Or whether it is totally innocent. Having been on the receiving end once, I have no desire to go there again and just want her to follow the rules if indeed I am the target. That way, she ought to follow laid down protocols and I would be within my rights to ask for any recordings. There is an element of tit for tat I will admit, but after my brush with the law, I don't see why she can just set up seemingly with no regard to the law, me or anyone else come to that.

You intimate that the ICO is relatively powerless, so my only recourse is to ask a solicitor to write a letter before and make reference to her obligations under dpa. Is my understanding correct?

Yes, your point is that she is gathering evidence to make reports against you but then you are back to the point we make above about making false reports being harassment.
I do understand that you want to take some action against her but a letter before action warning of the actions you will take if she doesn't stop making allegations achieves that.
If you are intent then you can always ask a solicitor write to her pointing the concerns about the ICO but the reality is that the only way to force her to disclose the range of theses cameras is an injunction if she is unwilling.
I suppose you may as well if you are sending one out anyway. It depends how it is written. It is always a bad idea to make threats that you don't enforce - for instance, if you say that if she doesn't comply by X date you will seek an injunction and you don't then that will embolden her.
I suppose you might be able to save money by getting the assistance of the Bar Pro Bono until for an injuction as somebody might be interested in the issues in this case.
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