Do not film your neighbors, do not film your visitors without their knowledge, direct the camera correctly and check the cloud storage used: investing in a surveillance camera is now a way to secure your home, but can also be a real puzzle to do that in the rules of the legal art. Here is our little memo so you don’t forget anything before turning on the security camera.
In France, we do not joke with privacy. At a time when video surveillance is gradually establishing itself on public roads, home security cameras are also finding themselves in the legislative spotlight. And just because they’re installed in your home, in your backyard, or above your door, doesn’t mean you can do whatever comes to your mind. Respect for private life is as valid for oneself as for one’s neighbors.
The law now heavily regulates the installation and use of individual surveillance cameras. So it’s best to know what to expect before you jump into installing them. Maryline Bererd, Camera Product Manager at Netatmo, explains what can and should not be done when attaching the new security camera.
The CNIL also sets the rules for private cameras
Always have one notion in mind: respect for privacy. Whether it is that of your neighbors or a passerby in the street, your household staff, the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) is quite picky on the issue. Appropriate regulations have been defined to regulate the use of a private video surveillance system and are different from those applied for public spaces.
The main principle is the same, namely the protection of people. However, the installation is not subject to personal data protection measures since, a priori, the use is private, for you and the members of your household. The CNIL asks to make an installation declaration if your camera records videos, can process them or identify people. If the system does not keep the images taken, no declaration is needed.
“Obviously, if this camera were to be installed in a place open to the public (school, leisure center, etc.), whether in the courtyard of the establishment or indoors, it must be subject to a declaration whether video recordings are made ‘, recalls Maryline Bererd. It is also rather courteous to also warn visitors, even with a simple word, to obtain some form of consent.
Rules even at home
Even if you have decided to install a security camera in your garden or in the driveway of the parking lot of your house, that is, after your gate, you cannot do what you want, although the purpose is to monitor your private property.
Rule number one: you cannot film the public road or the neighbor’s garden. The law applies the protection of private life to any person who could enter the field of your camera (visitors in front of your door, passers-by, delivery men, neighborhood…). “The camera is for private use and must film a private place. Filming the street or neighbors’ houses can expose you to fines ”, recalls the Netatmo specialist.
Two laws set out the regulation of video surveillance: article 226-1 of the Penal Code on the recording of the image of a person without his knowledge in a private link, and article 9 of the Civil Code on the Protection of private life. If you break the law, you risk up to 45,000 euros in fines and one year in prison for breach of privacy. But you will be asked beforehand, via an amicable agreement, to make your installation compliant.
How to install your camera in the rules of the art?
The security of your home is important to you and it is important to clearly identify the areas you want to monitor and secure. But the outdoor camera must always be positioned so as to only film the perimeter of your property (facade, garden, entrance, etc.).
If you are forced to film part of the street or the nearby garden, there are camera models that allow you to blur these areas. In the settings, you can define which parts of the space can be filmed – and therefore saved as video – or not. If you have chosen a model that does not allow it, then you will have to request a special authorization from the prefecture.
We must remember to take into account the long range of recent cameras which can film, sometimes even at night, up to 20 meters. The field of vision (100 to 140 °) should not be forgotten. A somewhat hazardous orientation and you will end up with videos of your neighbor passing the mower …
Some products offer the detection of individuals or animals. This makes it possible to deactivate certain functions as soon as your relatives, for example, are recognized.
The particular case of video doorbells
Note that connected doorbells with a video system to see your visitor, such as Ring or Nest Hello, are already located somewhere on the public road, since they are on the outside of your house. They are in a kind of legislative “in-between”. As long as the images are not saved and are only used to alert you to the person ringing at your door, you are within the legal framework.
It must be said that the triggering of the recording is generally done as soon as the person rings and lasts only a few seconds, in a certain way not without his knowledge.
The regulations therefore remain unclear on the issue. Only the State has the right to film public roads. Your videophone should therefore not be linked to a surveillance camera, unless the latter only films your visitor once the portal has been crossed.
Tenants can also install a camera
You don’t need to tell your landlord to install a CCTV device if you follow the above rules. If you are in a single-family house or in an apartment, you are your sole client. But it is rather planned to put up a sign indicating the existence of a camera once your access has been crossed.
If you are in a condominium and you risk filming the common areas, you will need the co-ownership agreement beforehand. But you are prohibited from filming the doors of the accommodation, balconies, terraces or simply neighboring windows.
If the surveillance camera stores, records or digitally processes the videos while allowing the identification of the people filmed, then a declaration to the CNIL is required. It is up to the syndicate of co-owners to do so and not to the syndic of the co-ownership.
What if I feel like I’m filming without my knowledge?
Is your neighbor filming your home or passing you in the street in front of his house? You have the right to express your disagreement. If you cannot reach an amicable solution, there are remedies. You can file a complaint with the competent authorities (gendarmerie, police station, civil court or public prosecutor). A quest will determine the field of view filmed and, in the event of non-compliance with the law, the offender can see their seized material.
Does my registration have legal value?
For everything related to the security of your home, video can provide evidence in the event of a break-in and identify your burglars. Insurance now tends to lower the annual cost if you are equipped with an indoor or outdoor surveillance camera.
On the other hand, if you have filmed the street “illegally” and that we see an accident, an assault or other, know that your video will be accepted only at the goodwill of the authorities or the insurance companies. “Legally, this is not proof, ”Recalls Maryline Berrerd. “But if that can make it possible to recognize a license plate or a person, overall, they are satisfied to have these elements… ”.
What to check before buying a surveillance camera?
Camera expert at Netatmo, Maryline Bererd explains in detail the elements to check before proceeding to checkout with your new security camera:
- You have to check how and where your videos are stored, how they will be secured. These records show your private residence. It is important to make sure that not everyone is going to have access to them if they are on a cloud and how you can access them. Check that dual identification is possibly available for added security. At Netatmo, the videos remain in the camera, on an encrypted microSD card. Only the user has access to it.
- Focus on subscriptions. Many products offer great features, but you have to pay an additional subscription each month. And sometimes it can just be to access your videos online or get more storage. We do not offer any to avoid the additional cost, especially to access your own videos, the main interest of buying a surveillance camera.
- Remember to look in the conditions of sale what happens to your personal data and which you must enter. An email should generally be sufficient to configure your account on the application, identify yourself and use the camera.
- Also take a look at the small differentiating features that are offered. Today, the majority of products natively integrate the detection of individuals or animals, the selection of areas to record, night vision, camera range, cloud storage, etc. It can sometimes be worth it to add a few euros for more security of mind.
As for the camera, Maryline Bererd recalls that the robustness, resistance to UV and weathering, ease of installation (electrical connection or wireless model, Wi-Fi, simple or magnetic attachment to the wall, etc.) and of usage (application, cloud, etc.) should be compared before purchasing.