Outdoor security: are you keeping the neighbours happy? | Timeguard

Outdoor security: are you keeping the neighbours happy? | Timeguard

Are you thinking of installing outdoor security for your customers? Just don’t upset the neighbours, as Andy Douglas, Managing Director at Timeguard explains.

Is the increasing affordability of low-cost smart doorbells with cameras leading to more disputes between neighbours? The short answer is not necessarily – as long as they’re installed with due consideration. What people cannot and should not do is have a set-up that effectively puts their neighbours under continuous surveillance – but smarter installers can offer better solutions anyway.

A case in point

In a recent case in Oxfordshire, a judge found in favour of a claimant who said she felt harassed by continual surveillance by a neighbour who had four devices recording images and audio of her as she entered and left her own home, or used her own garden. Whether the surveillance was intentional or not, it was a sustained, continuous recording of someone else both entering and leaving and while on their own property. The court’s decision potentially led up to damages that would mean bankruptcy for the cameras’ owner. Of course, it’s quite hard to understand why common sense didn’t prevail before things went so far, but disputes between neighbours do often go nuclear.

The law

The use of surveillance technologies is governed by a range of measures. Some provide advice and guidance, like the government’s Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, which sets out principles for operators to follow. Others are legal requirements, such as the rules for collection and processing of personal data under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These measures aim to ensure that any use of surveillance technologies is for legitimate purposes, proportionate, and compliant with relevant legal obligations. A key concern is that surveillance should, as far as possible, be with the informed consent of those being watched.

As you would expect, purely “domestic use” of personal data by a private individual is exempted from the data protection legislation, for example your address book. But, it’s well established that home surveillance systems, including CCTV and smart doorbells, are subject to UK data protection legislation. If your cameras don’t capture images beyond the property boundary, the data protection laws won’t apply. If they do, such as a neighbours’ property or public streets and footpaths, then use of the system is subject to the data protection laws. Users can still capture images, but need to show they’re doing it in ways that comply with the data protection laws and uphold the rights of the people whose images they are capturing. In short, they’ll need to be able to explain why they think capturing the images is more important than invading the privacy of neighbours and passers-by.

Playing by the rules

Users recording beyond their own boundaries should put up signs saying that recording is taking place and why, and minimise the amount of footage caught, keeping it securely and deleting it as soon as it’s not needed. Audio should be disabled except when actually needed for conversation (some devices don’t allow you to do that!). So, in a dense urban situation, you may prefer to use a camera system you can angle and that is designed for purpose, to provide security and reassurance at the door rather than being a ‘catch all’. A good system will enable people to see who is there and to talk to them to check their credentials and enable users to keep recordings securely for just as long as they need them.

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Go with the LEDPro

Neatly fitting the bill, and a solution that professional installers can offer, is Timeguard’s LEDPro Camera that integrates a Wi-Fi camera and microphone within the LED PIR light switch and can be positioned to provide the right coverage. It really is an all-in-one solution, turning the automated LED floodlight into an enhanced Wi-Fi camera system that can be scheduled or automated to record only on detection of people. This gives people a clear view of who is outside, automatically illuminates them and provides for two-way audio communication to check who visitors are before actually opening the door.

To get more details about the Timeguard LEDPro Camera Click here

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