Doctor wins £100k payout as neighbour’s doorbell camera breached privacy

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A doctor is set to receive £100,000 in compensation after a judge ruled that her neighbours' Ring doorbell camera breached her privacy.

Dr Mary Fairhurst claimed she was forced to leave her home in Thame in Oxfordshire as the security cameras set up on her neighbour, on Jon Woodward's property were too 'intrusive.'

Now, Judge Melissa Clarke ruled that Mr Woodward had breached the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR.

The ruling at Oxford County Court is thought to be the first of its kind and could set a precedent for more than 100,000 owners of a Ring doorbell nationally.

The court that Woodward set up four devices, including two fake cameras, to protect his vehicles, after an incident in 2019 which saw masked thieves try to steal his car.

Bur Dr Fairhurst said the cameras left her feeling as though she was under "continuous visual surveillance."

The judge said the footage of Dr Fairhurst caught on the camera was her personal data and had been collected outside the boundaries of Mr Woodward's property.

She added that Woodward had "sought to actively mislead the claimant about how and whether the cameras operated and what they captured".

She said: "I am satisfied that on many occasions it had a very wide field of view and captured the claimant's personal data as she drove in and out of the car park."

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The ruling means Dr Fairhurst is entitled to compensation and Mr Woodward has been hit with an order preventing him from continuing to breach her rights with the home security cameras.

Judge Clarke dismissed Mr Woodward's claims that the cameras were used to protect his car from thieves, adding that 'crime prevention could surely be achieved by something less' and that the cameras' audio recording range was not 'reasonable.'

Following the hearing, Mr Woodward told the Daily Mail: "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.

"I feel for the tens of thousands of homeowners with Ring home security who could now be targeted in the same manner I have."

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