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New voluntary code of practice proposed for domestic CCTV users

New voluntary code of practice proposed for domestic CCTV users

The government’s surveillance camera commissioner Tony Porter has announced plans to issue a new set of guidelines for people who equip their homes with CCTV in March 2015.

Mr Porter said the guidance would be aimed at making sure homeowners were on the right side of the law with regards to drone technology and high-resolution cameras. The new code of practice will be voluntary, but Mr Porter suggested that compulsory measures could also be drawn up if there is not sufficient uptake of the plan.

The future set of guidelines was proposed following a growth in complaints about neighbours using the increasingly affordable and powerful technologies to spy on each other. While this is not true of the vast majority of domestic CCTV users, Mr Porter reminded users that it is advisable to consult with your neighbours when installing the technology. This means you can find a suitable place to set up your device, without making anyone feel that their privacy has been invaded.

He also drew attention to other security measures such as high fences, passive infrared lighting and better locks.

At present, domestic users are not bound by the same regulations as commercial surveillance systems, where there are rules about transparency and how the recorded footage can be used and stored.

Mr Porter said the bulk of the complaints he received were focused around invasions of privacy from fixed cameras, rather than concerns about drones and body cameras, which are gaining in popularity after being adopted by police forces. However, he acknowledged that these technologies “present challenges” for future regulation and legislation. They will not be covered by the new code of practice until the authorities have had enough time to fully assess their impact on society.
He added that while the guidelines will aim for amicable resolutions, they will also detail the legal redress available to those who are unable to solve their dispute in any other way.

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