UK County Court awards damages in domestic surveillance equipment case
Published On:Monday, October 18, 2021
A neighbour affected by surveillance cameras installed on a domestic property has been awarded damages (sum yet to be determined) for breach of the data protection legislation and harassment in a case before Oxford County Court on 6 & 7 May 2021 (Fairhurst v Woodard).
The case relates to the installation and use of two ‘Ring’ spotlight cameras, a ‘Ring’ video doorbell camera and a ‘Nest’ camera. The audio capability of the equipment was of particular concern to the Court.
Those who have installed, or are considering the installation of, such devices should note the content of that judgment.
Householders must be able to demonstrate that the use of such devices accords with the law (as required). Failure to be open and transparent with neighbours about the use of such devices can result in concerns or disagreements, or the escalation of existing disputes.
Although frequent contact is received regarding such installations, the Commissioner:
- Cannot intervene in disputes between neighbours.
- Does not approve, licence, nor can require the removal of such devices.
- Can only ask a householder to confirm the processing of personal data undertaken via such devices and provide advice.
- Does not have the power to enter domestic property and inspect such devices without a Court warrant.
- Can require a householder to register as a controller if necessary.
Allegations of harassment, voyeurism, etc. caused by the use of such devices should be referred to the Isle of Man Constabulary.
An individual affected by the installation and use of such devices, and considering legal redress, should seek the advice of an Advocate.
Guidance about compliance with the data protection legislation when installing and using surveillance equipment on domestic premises is on the Commissioner’s website: https://inforights.im/organisations/data-protection-law-2018/surveillance-equipment/