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Smart Doorbells: Legal & Privacy Issues

Nov 29, 2022

Smart doorbells are popping up on homes and properties across the UK.

Also referred to as video doorbells, a smart doorbell is internet connected and will usually have a built in camera enabling you to see who is at the door, and even talk to them via use of a smartphone app.

They will typically activate either when the doorbell is pressed or when activity is detected by motion sensors.

There are a wide range of smart doorbells on the market which vary in price and the features they provide.

Benefits of Smart Doorbells

Smart doorbells can bring many benefits – from ensuring you don’t miss a delivery, to enabling you to talk to someone who is at your door or allowing you to see who is at the door before answering.

They can also help you improve your home security – for example picking up activity happening outside your door and alerting you.

Here is an article from Which? looking at 10 useful things you can do with a smart doorbell.

It is worth noting that when it comes to your property insurance, having a smart doorbell fitted is unlikely to be of benefit.  Insurers do not typically ask if a property has a smart doorbell fitted. And in our experience, we have seen no evidence of discounts being applied to premiums for having this extra type of security in place.

Possible legal and privacy issues of smart doorbells 

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) states that ‘The use of recording equipment, such as CCTV or smart doorbells, to capture video or sound recordings outside the user’s property boundary is not a breach of data protection law.’

But that those who make use of this technology should consider how intrusive it may be to neighbours. And should follow the relevant data protection rules linked to recording images and audio outside of their property boundary.

Smart doorbells can however raise potential privacy and legal concerns.

For example, this BBC article from October 2021 reports on a ruling that the installation of security cameras and a smart doorbell invaded the neighbour’s privacy.

Concerns were linked to both the image recording and the audio recording that the cameras and doorbell were capable of.

This is a reminder that if you are installing a smart doorbell, or other equipment capable of recording, then you should ensure that you adhere to the relevant laws.

When it comes to keeping your home safe, one area you shouldn’t overlook is that of property insurance. Whether you own a home or a commercial property, you can put cover in place to protect your assets. Get in touch with our teams of insurance experts at Anthony Jones today to see how we can help you.

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