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Is it illegal to video record someone without their consent in the UK?

Is it illegal to video record someone without their consent in the UK?

LONDONERS are caught on camera, on average, around 300 times per day in the capital.

This is the highest figure in the UK, mainly due to security cameras. But is it is illegal to record somebody without their consent?


Privacy laws with capturing images are often misunderstoodCredit: Getty

Is it illegal to video record someone without their consent in the UK?

It is not illegal in the UK to film someone in public even if you do so without their consent.

However, some areas you may think of as public are in fact privately owned, such as restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, and even football grounds.

These are all private places.

Whenever an individual goes to a private place, such as a restaurant, they enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy.

This rule also applies to crowded places.

According to the internet law centre, filming an individual where they are expecting their experience to remain private, could be unlawful.

This also includes large events.

The law centre said: “The privacy element may be confined to the company of a selected group of people so you might attend an event, together with 500 people, and still expect your presence to remain private, among that group of people.

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“Furthermore, while someone may agree to be filmed for private use, you could still breach their privacy if you then upload their video to YouTube.”

Is it illegal to take pictures of people in public?

People are able to take pictures in all public places.

This includes photos of people for journalistic, editorial or art purposes so long as they are not harassing members of the public to obtain the photographs.

Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, you can be prosecuted if you are threatening, stalking, intimidating, or causing distress to someone to obtain their photograph.

You must also be careful that where you are shooting these images is definitely a public space, as many areas that you may think are public are in actual fact privately owned.

For example, many shopping centres, museums, art galleries, public attractions, churches etc are on private land and you would need the permission of the landowner in order to be able to take pictures in these places, otherwise, it could be considered trespassing.

Generally trespassing is a civil matter and so if you do not have permission to take photos the worst that will happen is the landowner will ask you to stop taking photos and to leave the property. 

What can you do if someone records you without your consent?

You can ask the individual for a copy of the recording, should you so wish, but really there is only a standpoint depending on where it occurred.

As previously mentioned, you are entitled outside of a public place, to expect certain levels of privacy.

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However, if the recording was taken in a public place, there is no legal standpoint to protect you.

It all boils down to the individual capturing the content and if you have particular issue with featuring in the footage, you may ask them to blur you out.

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