How to operate cctv at your home legally and effectively25th May 2017
How to operate CCTV at your home legally and effectively
A good CCTV system has become a must for many homeowners, helping give people across the country the peace of mind to leave their homes unattended. However, there are a few important rules and regulations you must adhere to. Whilst it’s important to enhance the security of your home, you must also ensure that you’re considering the privacy of others, as well as CCTV installation and operation laws.
To make sure you don’t get caught out, the team at Lynx Fire & Security have put together this simple guide to help you operate CCTV at your home legally and effectively, and what to consider before and during the installation of a home surveillance system.
Data Protection Laws
The Data Protection Act 1998 dictates that images of people are protected as personal data, along with any information that can be extracted from these images. With the advancement of CCTV camera detail and abilities, the DPA has become more concerned with people’s rights in regards to CCTV, and the obligations of people who operate them. However, this legislation also protects the rights of homeowners who wish to use the cameras to protect their personal, family or household affairs. Despite this, you must still act responsibly and consider the rights and privacy of others.
Decide on proper placement
If your camera’s field of view remains within your property boundaries, it will be exempt from any constraints from the Data Protection Act. However, a recent EU court decision has ruled that if your camera's field of vision is recording beyond your property boundaries, then you will not be exempt from the DPA and could potentially get into trouble.
When deciding on locations, consider what vulnerable points you want the cameras to cover, and whether their line of view is intruding on neighbour’s gardens or the street beyond. If you think your cameras may be wandering onto others’ properties, it might be worth re-evaluating whether you need them anymore or adjusting their position.
Inform neighbours and landlord
To avoid disputes, always make sure to be open with your neighbours about your decision to install CCTV cameras. Be clear about where they will be positioned and whether the field of view will encroach on their property. This will allow a discussion and agreement to be made at the beginning, which will reduce the likelihood of any issues further down the line. Equally, if you live in a rented property, it’s important to ask permission from your landlord before installing any surveillance systems. Finally, it may be wise to put up signs that inform others that there is a recording in progress; this can also help deter thieves.
Storing and using the recordings
If you already have CCTV cameras, ensure that you are regularly deleting recordings and that none are being used for longer than is reasonable to ensure the protection of your property. The information that you record should only be used for home security reasons, and should not be used for any other purpose. Another aspect to consider is the security of the recordings themselves; it is your responsibility as the camera owner to keep them in a safe place where they cannot fall into the wrong hands and can only be accessed by trustworthy family members.
Brush up on your knowledge
You shouldn’t take a backseat when purchasing security equipment. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your CCTV cameras are installed correctly by a professional, such as Lynx Fire & Security. Make sure you thoroughly read your camera manual to familiarise yourself with its operation, enabling you to deal with any issues quickly and efficiently.
Poor maintenance of your home security system can reduce its effectiveness, functionality and longevity. Getting it regularly checked over can avoid future problems and is vital for responsible camera ownership.
Ask for advice
The Information Commissioner’s Office have put together a code of practice for CCTV users, providing tips and advice for responsible and legal surveillance usage in your home. You can ask the ICO for advice if you are unsure of where to legally place your CCTV cameras. For detailed reading, the government’s Surveillance Camera Code of Practice 2013 is available as an easily downloadable PDF. Alternatively you ask for advice from a trusted security specialist - such as Lynx Security.
Providing security solutions for over 30 years, the team at Lynx Fire & Security are happy to help you with the installation and maintenance of quality CCTV systems. We are also happy to offer friendly tips and advice, so get in touch today to find out more.