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I am surprised to learn that, in the UK, private/domestic CCTV cameras pointed to the public street make the owner GDPR controller — with all the consequences like having to respond to data requests from all those strangers who were filmed.

In Czech Republic though, the personal/household activity exemption applies (edit: no, it does not, my bad).

Was/is it correct for the courts to not apply the exemption? How is filming the street with personal CCTV substantially different from filming it with a phone? (other than for the operator not being visible to the strangers — which makes the first impression for them that nothing is being filmed).

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    “In Czech Republic though, the personal/household activity exemption applies.” – I'm not sure we read the same thing. As the answers in the linked question explain, the household exemption was found to NOT apply when public spaces were covered by CCTV surveillance. This is 100% in line with the ICO interpretation. And since the Ryneš judgement was made by the CJEU before Exit Day, it is also relevant for the UK.
    – amon
    Mar 14 at 1:10
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    @amon You are right. I am embarrassed for misreading the linked Czech case and so I shall delete this question soon.
    – Greendrake
    Mar 14 at 1:24

2 Answers 2

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Why do you expect different courts to determine different laws in the same way?

The Czech and UK laws that implement the GDPR are necessary different because they are the products of different legislative and legal traditions and are written in different languages. The differences may be minor but they will exist.

Particular cases will have different factual and legal nuances and be interpreted by different courts with very different judicial traditions.

Czech courts set no precedents in UK courts and vice-versa.

It’s no surprise that there will be different outcomes.

Even jurisdictions with much closer legal traditions like US Federal Circuit Courts and Australian states often have divergent precedents on similar (or the same) legislation.

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  • "different outcomes" — is there an actual UK case yet, or just what the ICO thinks the outcome should be?
    – Greendrake
    Mar 13 at 22:37
  • Answering the question in the title of your answer, GDPR is muuuuch more expected to be applied consistently where it applies (even the UK GDPR which is supposed to mirror the original GDPR) than "similar (or the same) legislation" in countries like the US/Australia.
    – Greendrake
    Mar 13 at 22:41
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    @Greendrake Yes. judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/…
    – Dale M
    Mar 13 at 23:25
  • That's a very nice case. However, I see the defendant failed to even mention the personal/household activity exemption. Neither did the judge.
    – Greendrake
    Mar 13 at 23:48
  • Well, it’s a judgement not a transcript so we can’t tell if this issue was raised or not. It may have been common ground that the household exemption didn’t apply or it may not have been pressed either of which would explain why it’s not in the judgement
    – Dale M
    Mar 13 at 23:51
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"in the UK, private/domestic CCTV cameras pointed to the public street make the owner GDPR controller" is not an accurate summary of the law.

From the ICO Website, emphasis added:-

"Data protection laws don’t apply if the cameras cover only the user’s own private property, including their garden. Therefore, visitors caught on these cameras don’t have specific data protection rights in relation to the images captured on those cameras."

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    I don't get what point you're trying to make. Did you see "pointed to the public street"? If a camera is pointed to the public street, surely it does not only cover the owner's property, right? It may not even cover private property at all and wholly cover the street.
    – Greendrake
    Mar 14 at 12:59
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    I recall there was some trouble with exactly this and the practical idea was to make certain the cameras only covered one's private property (even if this involves masking some of the camera's field of view) to avoid becoming a GDPR controller
    – ti7
    Mar 14 at 17:59
  • @Greendrake - no these two things are not automatically linked, it very much depends on the size of the property for instance.
    – deep64blue
    Mar 14 at 20:21
  • @ti7 The question is asked from the position of an owner who wants to monitor the public area on purpose. So your practical idea is slightly out of place.
    – Greendrake
    Mar 14 at 20:24

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