A few days ago we saw what was needed to be able to install a connected doorbell or an electronic peephole at home. An increasingly common elementboth for models that only offer a view of what is happening on the other side of the door and those that can also record the scene.
The problem is given especially when these are installed in flats, where we share the landing with other tenants and owners. And this is where it appears a problem, related to privacy and the right to image. A conflict that the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) wanted to solve. It is the answer given to the complaints of a neighbor with the file EXP202204806.
Electronic peepholes yes
The Spanish Agency for Data Protection, from now on (AEPD), considers that the permission of the neighbors is not necessary or the approval by the community of owners to install an electronic peephole. To do so, he justifies his decision that this type of device does not infringe the right to privacy.
The most normal thing until recently was that we had a traditional peephole installed at home, a device based on lenses that allows us to magnify and see what is happening on the other side of the door. They have been giving way to electronic peepholes composed of a screen that allows you to see the action on the other side. The problem is that, apart from seeing, they can also record and on a landing they can detect the activity of other neighbors and people who come from other floors.
Now the AEPD considers that this type of device does not infringe the right to privacy. A statement based on the complaint of a neighbor who installed one of these devices that also captured the activity in common areas. This was the claimant’s complaint:
“…he has installed a peephole of the make and model: EZVIZ DP1C. We have evidence that he uses it to record and know which neighbors go up to the landing or to hang clothes on the roof”
The neighbor claims that the purpose of the peephole is to record and know who is near his door. A complaint to which the AEPD responds by saying that the function of these devices does not differ from that offered by traditional peepholes. By the classic ones or by the modern ones, the digital ones, you can see the activity of the neighbors.
They also clarify that the use of installed devices must be carried out in accordance with its purposebeing prohibited for peepholes that can be used as video surveillance cameras.
The AEPD also states that in order to deal with the claim it must be demonstrated that the electronic peephole is being used as a surveillance camera. The difference between the two is that with the peepholes there is no need to carry out data processing management that falls within its competence. In addition, the AEPD adds the following:
“…the landing area near the door of the requested person is not an area intended for privacy, and recreational activities can be carried out in private or public areas (eg nearby parks), without it being stated on the other hand that a “data processing” of the same has been carried out”.
It should be noted that the device (digital peephole) is installed on the door owned by the defendant and not in the common area, which is why it differs from other cases analyzed by the AEPD with devices placed on a communal wall widely capturing the landing area.
For the AEPD and citing what is established according to the jurisprudence, the common areas and the recordings of the same, do not violate the right to privacy. And as such areas are considered landings, stairs, garage… only the areas in which people carry out a private activity are considered private.
“It cannot be understood that a garage of a community of owners has such intimacy that it prevents making recordings, given that it is a common space, the same as the access stairs to community homes, unrelated to any privacy, understood from the point of view of a constitutionally protected personal privacy, as it is an area of access to members of the community…”
However, and having said this, the AEPD also clarifies that these peepholes and their use “differs from other cases analyzed by this Agency in that a camera is installed on a community wall, widely capturing the landing area.” The difference is that peepholes are installed on a door and They can be used to protect against acts of vandalism..
“… this type of device being able to fulfill a dissuasive function against the aforementioned vandalism attacks that sometimes occur in Owners’ Associations…”
The AEPD speaks of “quarrels” and disputes between neighbors as the underlying cause that is often behind this type of complaint. Something that is repeated in this complaint, where the claimant states that the door of the claimed “has suffered various scratches.”
In conclusion, they affirm that the authorization of the rest of the neighbors is not necessary, although it is advisable to report the intention to install an electronic peephole the neighbors and inform the President of the community or administrator if any type of vandalism is taking place.
More information | AEPD