Woman Set To Receive £100,000 After Court Rules Neighbor’s Doorbell Camera Is In Breach Of Her Privacy
A man could be facing a £100,000 fine after a court ruled his camera doorbell was in breach of data protection laws and caused harassment to one of his neighbors.
A woman by the name of Mary Fairhurst claimed she had to move out of her home as a consequence of the doorbell put in place by her neighbor Jon Woodward.
Fairhurst said she felt she was being watched 24/7 after Woodward had 4 cameras in total installed around his house.
The devices can detect motion and allow a person to see who is at their door.
As the court meeting was coming to an end, Judge Melissa Clarke said that the man had breached Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR, which would mean that the materials obtained by Woodard through his cameras were the personal data of his neighbor as they had a wide-angle view and recorded video and audio outside of Woodard’s own property.
A spokesman for Ring (the devices in question) said:
“We strongly encourage our customers to respect their neighbours’ privacy and comply with any applicable laws when using their Ring device.
“We’ve put features in place across all our devices to ensure privacy, security, and user control remain front and centre – including customisable Privacy Zones to block out ‘off-limit’ areas, Motion Zones to control the areas customers want their Ring device to detect motion and Audio Toggle to turn audio on and off.”
Another court hearing is set to take place in November where the neighbor could receive £100,000 in damages.
Home security expert and co-founder of Boundary.co.uk, Robin Knox, said the following on the issue:
“Although camera-based home security systems can be an efficient deterrent for burglars, they do come with their risks, and privacy is one of them. As seen in this case, it was ruled that the doorbell cameras were too invasive, so it’s important that people reassess their existing methods of home security to make sure it’s not impacting on the lives of others.
“Ring’s smart doorbell cameras are initially triggered by a motion sensor, as well as overlaying person detection, meaning recording can be triggered by anyone walking past.
“It’s important that when looking into outdoor home security cameras, buyers look for systems that include privacy masking to avoid recording outside of the boundary of the home. Otherwise, signage would be required as well as compliance with GDPR data management regulations. Motion detection zones can also be set up to reduce false alerts.
“Not only should a home security system flag legitimate threats of break-ins, but they should also then proceed to provide follow-through protection, such as automatic police response.
“Self-monitored cameras might initially seem useful and exciting but it can be hard to always be on-duty when at work, on holiday or asleep. A professionally monitored system from a recognisable brand makes it more likely that your intruder will be initially deterred, cause less damage and ultimately increase the likelihood of being caught, thanks to a swift and reliable 24/7 response.
“Look out for systems that have BS EN 50131 tested motion sensors, and only buy from companies who can offer a Grade 2 installation, Police URN, and are accredited by one of the two industry bodies (SSAIB or NSI). These companies are the only ones who can access the highest priority ‘level 1’ response from police forces in the UK.”
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