04 Feb CAN IT BE ILLEGITIMATE TO HAVE NON-OPERATIVE OR MERELY DISSUASIVE VIDEO-SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS INSTALLED?
In the following, for example, the Spanish Supreme Court considers there is illegitimate intrusion into privacy in a case in which a lord installed surveillance cameras, unfit to record, and being oriented to the accesses and estate of the neighbouring claimant.
These were mere battery-powered cases, and thus not then an apt means of recording or reproducing people’s intimate lives being their purpose merely deterrent.
The devices were oriented towards the access road to the neighbouring farm and his garden, which is why its owner denounced the owner of the cameras and after several resolutions against his allegations the neighbour in question, came before the Spanish Supreme Court. The SC recalls that given the guidance of the simulated cameras, the plaintiff and his family may feel observed on their own plot, not just at the entrance and exit of the farm. The situation was therefore objectively suited to curb their freedom in the personal and family sphere, for those who feel observed to that extent do not behave the same as without the presence of cameras, and do not have to endure permanent uncertainty about whether or not the camera oriented towards their farm is operational – since its external appearance prevents this verification – while the defendant would always be able to replace it with an operational camera.
The SC also rejects the defendant’s argument that the situation could be included in an exercise of an ius usus inocui (tolerated – or innocuous – social use of the law) in the field of neighbourly relations, since far from being innocuous the installation, it disturbed objectively, and without need, the life and intimacy of the plaintiff.