Edinburgh's Nahid Akram installed a CCTV system that let him record his downstairs neighbours Debbie and Tony Woolley in their back garden, capturing both images and audio of their private conversations, with a system that had the capacity to record continuously for five days.
A Scottish court has ruled that the distress caused by their neighbour's camera entitled the Woolleys to £17,000 in damages, without the need for them to demonstrate any actual financial loss. The judgment builds on a 2015 English court ruling against Google for spying on logged out Safari users, where the users were not required to show financial losses to receive compensation for private surveillance.
Aside from the award of over $21,000 to the Woolleys, the Sheriff's judgment is also noteworthy for how he spelled out the distress they suffered:
"They have all been severely restricted in the use and enjoyment of their own home," Sheriff Ross said. "They voluntarily restrict their external movements. They restrict their conversations, both inside and outside their home, as they are aware that they are being recorded and do not know the extent of the coverage."
Although he is talking about surveillance in the physical world, his concerns have obvious parallels in the online world, which is under growing government surveillance, not least in the UK. Already, some people are starting to restrict their digital movements and their conversations as they are "aware that they are being recorded and do not know the extent of the coverage." The question is: why should such "distressing" surveillance be punished in the real world, but permitted in the digital one?
JUDGMENT OF SHERIFF N A ROSS
In the cause
ANTHONY WOOLLEY AND DEBORAH WOOLLEY
NAHID AKBAR OR AKRAM [Scot Courts]
Scottish Sheriff Awards Couple Compensation For 'Distress' Caused By Neighbor's Use Of CCTV
Scottish court issues damages to couple over distress caused by neighbour's use of CCTV
(Images: Manipulation Game #10: Ness is showing up!, CC-BY-SA; CCTV surveillance camera, Zapyon, CC-BY-SA)
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Thursday in the Trump financial documents case, and upholds the Manhattan DA’s subpoena. In a 7-2 decision, SCOTUS ruled that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is entitled to see President Trump’s taxes. Justice Roberts: “In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to ‘everyman’s evidence.’ Since […]
The FTC and the Justice Department are investigating claims that TikTok, the popular social media app with close ties to China, violated a 2019 agreement to protect children’s privacy.
Today’s serving of the Streisand Effect comes courtesy of American Girl, which hopes that no-one will see Adam the Creator’s “Karen” parody of its dolls.
Back in the 50s and 60s, it was no big deal in most areas to make a call to your local liquor store and have beer, wine and spirits delivered right to your house with little to no restriction. However, that ease and simplicity certainly isn’t in place today. Alcohol delivery laws in 2020 are […]
Unless you’re a regular cannabis user, you might be surprised to learn that the plant itself is basically just that — a plant. It’s not until you put cannabis under high heat that the process of decarboxylation breaks down that raw form into the psychoactive compounds that can actually benefit the body. This unlocking process […]
With our smartphones serving as the vital tether that links us to the rest of our lives, it’s no wonder how low batteries and power emergencies can occasionally feel like a life-and-death situation. I mean, it’s usually not, of course…but darned if it doesn’t feel that way when your indicator is showing only 5 percent […]