Data Protection Directive applies to domestic CCTV overlooking public footpath

CCTV installed on a family home for crime prevention purposes, which also monitors a public space, may or may not be lawful. The European Court of Justice said that it does not amount to processing of personal data in the course of a “purely personal or household activity”, which would have been legitimate. It mentioned various conditions and exemptions, which might have permitted the recording to lawfully take place, but did not explore these in any detail.

It is an interesting ruling and likely to have significant implications on the way in which CCTV can be used at home, if the CCTV even partially records a public space. The UK Information Commissioner has stated in its code of practice on CCTV and other surveillance technologies that it will review its position on the use of domestic CCTV following the ECJ’s judgment, and that this may lead to it updating its code or issuing supplementary guidance.

The ruling also gives a clue as to the way other recording devices may be treated if used in public spaces (for example, drones, body-worn video and wearable computing such as watches and glasses).

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