New guidance for household security cameras

Restrictions may have to be imposed on household CCTV cameras after a surge of complaints about spying neighbours. Tony Porter, the UK Government’s surveillance camera commissioner, said he will issue new guidance about the use of the CCTV systems on private homes. But if the guidance fails to have an impact on growing concern about use of the technology Mr Porter said he may recommend further regulation.

Many complaints centre on CCTV cameras which invade neighbours’ privacy by focusing on their property – such as their garden – or by pointing into their windows.
He added there were also “growing public concerns” about drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles, some of which are equipped with cameras – and the use of body-worn video by police and other agencies. Mr Porter said in his annual report: “The use of surveillance camera systems within domestic environments continues to grow.
This upsurge in domestic use is directly responsible for an increase in complaints around their use. He said the new guidance would be published by March. Commercial CCTV systems have to comply with a code of practice which sets out transparency requirements and a number of measures about how recordings can be stored and used. However, the code does not apply to householders who have installed CCTV to deter burglars and other crime.

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