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A win for privacy: woman could get up to £100k in damages for neighbours’ doorbell cameras

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Doctor has set £100,000 payout after judge’s landmark privacy ruling that her neighbor’s camera-enabled smart doorbells were harassment

  • A woman claimed cameras on neighbor’s smart doorbell are violating her privacy
  • She won a historic legal battle yesterday and could receive more than £100,000
  • A judge ruled that using cameras violated data laws and amounted to harassment
  • Ruling could pave the way for thousands of lawsuits over Amazon’s Ring devices










A woman who claimed the cameras on a neighbor’s smart doorbells violated her privacy won a historic legal battle yesterday.

Jon Woodard, 45, needs Dr. Mary Fairhurst may pay more than £100,000 in damages after a judge found that his use of the cameras violated data laws and amounted to harassment.

The ruling is considered the first of its kind in the UK and could set a precedent for more than 100,000 Ring smart doorbell owners nationally.

dr. Mary Fairhurst (right, with a friend at Oxford County Court) who claimed the cameras on a neighbor’s smart doorbells are violating her privacy won a historic legal battle yesterday

The devices connected to the internet notify the absent homeowner via a smartphone when a visitor comes to the door. The owner can then watch the visitor with an app and talk to him using the doorbell’s built-in camera and microphone.

Audiovisual engineer Woodard said he placed four devices, including two “dummies,” around his property to protect his vehicles from masked thieves who attempted to steal his car in 2019.

But Dr. Fairhurst of Thame, Oxfordshire, whose house is two doors away and an access road to the car park, claimed the Ring devices were so ‘intrusive’ that she was forced to move.

The director of the holistic care company told Oxford County Court they had placed her under “continuous visual surveillance”.

The doctor – a neighbor of Mr Woodard’s for 20 years – claimed he harassed her by becoming “aggressive” when she complained.

Jon Woodard, 45, (left, with his partner Nicola Copelin) should Dr.  Fairhurst may pay more than £100,000 in damages after a judge found his use of the cameras violated data laws and amounted to harassment

Jon Woodard, 45, (left, with his partner Nicola Copelin) should Dr. Fairhurst may pay more than £100,000 in damages after a judge found his use of the cameras violated data laws and amounted to harassment

Judge Melissa Clarke found that Mr Woodard had violated the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation.

In her statement, she said that Dr. Fairhurst’s images and audio files captured on the Ring devices were classified as physician personal data, but that Mr. Woodard had not processed it in a “fair or transparent manner.”

After the remote hearing, Mr Woodard said he was “extremely disappointed and shocked”.

The devices connected to the internet notify the absent homeowner via a smartphone when a visitor comes to the door.  The owner can then use an app to view and talk to the visitor using the doorbell's built-in camera and microphone

The devices connected to the internet notify the absent homeowner via a smartphone when a visitor comes to the door. The owner can then use an app to view and talk to the visitor using the doorbell’s built-in camera and microphone

He told the Mail that he bought the devices in good faith to protect my property and vehicles. Now to hear that these are harassment devices feels like a joke and I myself feel like I am being harassed.

“Many of my neighbors have cameras and smart doorbells.”

In response to the ruling, Amazon-owned Ring advised device owners to make sure people know they are being filmed by sticking Ring stickers on their doors or windows.

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