Here at Twenty4 Fire and Security, we are eager to stay up to date with any news that relates to the world of fire and security. This ensures we are aware of the latest legislation surrounding devices/services and are always abreast of industry and consumer trends.
This week, we were interested to learn about a court case involving Amazon Ring Doorbells. These are doorbells that have a camera and audio aspect to them and have become hugely popular in recent years.
A UK Judge ruled that these devices breach data protection laws.
The court case was between two neighbours; one of which believed her neighbour’s Ring smart doorbell cameras breached her privacy. Dr Mary Fairhurst said that the cameras on Jon Woodard’s doorbell broke data laws, sparking a major dispute which she claimed led to harassment.
In court, she told how Woodard’s doorbell put her under ‘continuous visual surveillance’ which meant that he was breaching provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018. She also claimed that the feeling of being watched in this way resulted in her moving out of her home as it was too ‘intrusive’.
As a result of the ruling, Dr Fairhurst will be entitled to compensation, potentially to the tune of £100,000.
Comments from the doorbell owner
Talking after the verdict, Woodard commented on how he was ‘extremely disappointed and shocked’ by the judge’s ruling.
‘I purchased a ring doorbell and ring motion activated camera in 2019, in good faith to protect my property and vehicles.
‘To now be told these are harassment devices feels like a joke and I myself feel like I am being harassed. Many of my neighbours have cameras and smart doorbells.’
He said: ‘I wonder if the police will now still be able to appeal to the public to check their smart doorbells, CCTV, and dashcams in order to assist them to solve crime, and use to assist convictions.’
Mr Woodard also voiced concerns for other Ring doorbell owners:
‘I feel for the tens of thousands of homeowners with ring home security who could now be targeted in the same manner I have.’
In response to the ruling, Ring advised that customers should always ensure their properties have visible ‘Ring’ stickers on to make neighbours and visitors aware that they could be captured by cameras.
A spokesperson for Ring stated:
‘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.’
Need advice on home security?
If you operate a CCTV system or any other form of home security, ensuring your neighbours are aware is always advised. To discuss safe home security services and to request information about the legal status of surveillance equipment, contact us today.