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Could my neighbour’s Ring security light camera spy through my window?

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My neighbour has a Ring security light with a built-in camera on the back of their house, which I can see from my downstairs window.

There is a high fence between the properties and so it feels as if you have complete privacy, but it occurred to me the other day that if I can see the light and camera, it might also be able to see me.

Will the camera just look down and straight ahead, or do they have wide angle lenses? Could my neighbours be able to see through my window and inside my house?

It feels a bit awkward to ask about this, as I don’t want to accuse them of spying on me. Via email

A Ring security light and camera: What should you do if you are worried neighbours could see in your home?

A Ring security light and camera: What should you do if you are worried neighbours could see in your home?

Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: Home security is incredibly important, but so is maintaining privacy at your property. Your question was emailed into us after a number of stories on smart doorbells and cameras, including whether they make your home safer and if burglars may see them as a sign of a gadget-laden home.

Many people are now installing CCTV at their homes to deter burglars, whilst others have smart doorbells or security lights which allow them to see who is outside their property, whether they are at home or not.

Your neighbour has a Ring security light, which is one of the most popular brands, and, whilst you are not sure of the exact model, their website says some of their products have a motion-activated camera and two-way audio. 

This means they can see, hear and speak to anyone on their property, via their mobile phone.

One of the models also has a 140 degree field-of-view which will let users detect motion around corners and monitor blind spots. The camera can also be zoomed in and out. 

Whilst it is a sensible choice for your neighbours to protect themselves and their home, you now believe they may be able to see into your downstairs window through the camera.

This raises issues of privacy as well as data protection.  

According to the Information Commissioners Office, if someone is thinking of using private CCTV, they need to make sure they do so in a way that respects other people’s privacy.

It says: ‘If you set up your system so it captures only images within the boundary of your private domestic property, including your garden, then the data protection laws will not apply to you.’

However, if the camera’s field of vision goes outside of the home’s boundaries then GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 will apply, and users will need to ensure their use of CCTV complies with these laws.

They will still be able to capture images, but must follow such rules as deleting images of other people if they request it; putting a sign up to show that they have CCTV; and ensuring the security of the footage they capture so that nobody can watch it without good reason.

Whilst security is helpful in case of burglaries, it could mean neighbours have a lack of privacy

Whilst security is helpful in case of burglaries, it could mean neighbours have a lack of privacy 

If your neighbours can indeed see in to your home, they should only keep the footage for as long as they need it and delete files regularly when they are no longer needed. 

All of this means that you are within your rights to speak to your neighbours about this and find out what the situation is.

If they can see in, you could politely ask that they do not use any footage of your property without permission, or even ask if they could move it slightly so you are not in their range of vision.

Advice to users from Ring 

This is Money asked Ring what they thought and in response, it has given the following advice for users to help them comply with legal responsibilities.  

It says the devices are not intended for installation where the camera is capturing someone else’s property or public areas. 

1) We strongly encourage customers to ensure guests know they are being captured on video. In all Ring device packages, you’ll find free Ring stickers to put on your door or windows, which we suggest using to let guests know they’re on camera. 

For customers that live in a shared property, we encourage them to let their neighbours, building owner, property manager, housing association, etc. know before installing their new device.

2) We are constantly executing our commitment to privacy, security and user control, and have implemented (and continue to roll out) various features that demonstrate this commitment:

– With motion zones, customers can control the areas they want their Ring device to detect motion. By defining motion zones that exclude their neighbour’s property or public areas, such as public pavements and roads, customers focus their notifications on events that take place on their own property.

– Using the audio toggle feature, Ring devices allow customers to decide if they want to stream and record audio. When a customer toggles audio off, they will no longer be able to hear audio when the device records a motion event, a live view, or an answered ring.

– With the privacy zones feature, a customer can define an area within their Ring device camera’s field-of-view that they can deem ‘off-limits.’ Once a privacy zone has been created, nothing that happens inside that defined area can be viewed or recorded.

We also asked security experts for their advice on keeping within the rules when using a doorbell security camera, and whether you should confront your neighbour.

Brandon Wilkes, digital marketing executive at The Big Phone Store, replies: Ring actually have a variety of different cameras with different lenses, including wide angle, so it’s difficult to say whether or not the camera will be able to see through your window.

Regardless of how awkward it may be, opening up dialogue about your concern would be the best way to proceed and if at all possible, confirming it with your own eyes.

Ring have a built-in privacy masking feature where you can stop your camera from filming areas that you shouldn’t be for situations exactly like this.

It’s also illegal within the UK to film someone in an area where they should expect privacy – your home being a prime example – so you can rest easy knowing that if you can’t mediate the situation with your neighbour directly, you have multiple ways of ensuring your privacy.

Kate Bevan, Which? computing editor, replies: Whether or not a security camera can capture footage of neighbouring properties will depend on where it is placed, however, some claim to have a 140-degree horizontal view so it is a possibility.

While data protection laws do not apply if the camera only covers the user’s private property, they do apply if it captures footage outside this boundary, for example on the street or nearby properties.

If a domestic CCTV camera films footage outside the boundary of the user’s home, data protection laws say that this needs to be justifiable. The law creates obligations including warning others that a camera system is in place, storing footage securely and only keeping it for as long as it is needed.

Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: The best way forwards would be to just bite the bullet and speak to your neighbour to ascertain exactly what they can – or can’t – see of your property.

If nothing, problem solved. But if they can see in, find out exactly what they can see and whether this breaches your privacy.

It could be they can only slightly see in, this is unlikely to be a huge issue. But if they have a full view through your downstairs window, ask if they can adjust the camera angle, or use some of the tips Ring gave above to mean they cannot see you.

Although it is very unlikely to get to this point, if they refuse and fail to comply with  obligations under the data protection laws, they may be subject to enforcement action by the ICO. This could include a fine. 

They could also be subject to legal action by neighbours, who could pursue court claims for compensation. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Barings and HBD secure planning for London logistics scheme (GB)

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Barings and HBD have secured detailed planning for a strategic logistics scheme in Rainham, London, transforming a 20-acre brownfield site. The new development, Momentum London, is being delivered by Barings and HBD in a joint venture partnership. It will create 381,814ft² of new logistics and industrial space across four units ranging from 41,000 -171,000ft².

 

The scheme will target Net Zero Carbon, BREEAM “Excellent” and an EPC “A+” rating. This is being achieved by dynamic design, careful consideration of materials, zero use of fossil fuels, maximizing photovoltaic solar panels, battery storage and intelligent building systems. The units will be 100% EV ready, including passive fleet charging to the yards.

 

The logistics park will be set in landscaped environment with picnic and public areas, as well as direct access onto the Thames Cycle Path, so that it brings further social benefits to the area. Positioned on the River Thames, with potential for jetty access, Momentum will offer an easy stepping stone into Central London and out via the A13, just minutes away.

 

Darren Hutchinson, Head of UK Real Estate Transactions and Managing Director at Barings, said: Momentum London will be a strategically located logistics scheme with strong environmental and social credentials, beneficial both to future occupiers and the communities around it. Logistics is one of Barings’ preferred investment sectors and Momentum London exemplifies the kind of developments we’re seeking, with a keen interest in exploring joint ventures like this one with HBD.”

 

Simon Quine, Senior Development Surveyor at HBD, said: “Industrial and logistics space remains in very limited supply across London, particularly larger distribution units. Momentum will plug that gap within the M25 and provide modern, sustainable logistics and distribution space to serve London and the wider South East market. Landscaping and wellness have been thoroughly considered, with careful design considerations and enhancements to the Thames Foot and Cycle path, which we hope will help occupiers to attract and retain staff.”

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Mirrored furniture trend can create the illusion of space in your home

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Mirrored furniture provokes strong emotions. Some see it as the epitome of bad taste, flashy and bling. Others know that mirrors have magic powers.

A mirrored table or cabinet makes a room or a hallway appear more swish and spacious. It’s a trick that bars and restaurants employ to ensure their establishments appear roomier and more inviting — and they can add lustre to your home, too.

Choosing a piece of mirrored furniture also sends out a sign that you are aware of one of the year’s trends — the return of Art Deco, the influential style that emerged in the 1920s. 

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

It blended forms that celebrated modern machinery with decorative elements drawn from Greco-Roman culture and nature. 

The mirror was a favourite material, used on the surfaces of furniture and walls to supply a shimmering silver and gold effect.

Probably the most famous piece of Art Deco architecture is New York’s Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, its sunburst-patterned stainless steel spire remains one of the key elements of the Manhattan skyline.

Art Deco console tables, drinks trolleys and other items from the era of the building’s construction sell for thousands on auction sites such as 1stdibs underlining the growing appeal of this aesthetic. 

Jamie Watkins, the co-founder of fabric and wallpaper company Divine Savages, explains Art Deco’s allure for a new audience.

‘Art Deco, with its bold geometrical patterns was such an iconic period for design: it’s synonymous with glamour and luxury.’

The resurgent popularity of Art Deco is also based on its practicality: a mirrored piece works with almost any interior, adding interest and depth.

The power of the mirror to create a wow impression has been recognised for centuries. 

Examples of this technique include the round mirror on the wall behind the bride and groom in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery. It sends out the message that the couple are discerning — and wealthy.

Cheers: B&M's £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

Cheers: B&M’s £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

The hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles was designed to be a place of beauty, but also to display the financial resources of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Mirrors were a luxury item until an inexpensive manufacturing process was invented in the 1830s.

In 2022, it is possible to pick up mirrored pieces for under £100. B&M has a £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves that would lend an air of Thirties elegance to any gathering. The £94.99 Ellison serving cart (a U.S. term for drinks trolley) from Wayfair has a similar vibe.

If you believe that the right mirrored trolley would save you money on trips to bars, the larger £144.95 gold oval mirrored trolley from Melody Maison could be the thing.

A mirrored cocktail cabinet will dazzle guests. The £1,200 Primrose & Plum champagne and gold cabinet has a Jazz-Age feel.

The £299 Venetian sideboard from Furniture Market, meanwhile, is a more modestly priced way to conjure up the party spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

The show flats of apartment blocks are often equipped with mirrored cocktail cabinets containing bottles of spirits and crystal glasses. This makes buyers dream of dinner parties, with a prelude of aperitifs, but also serves to make the apartment appear even roomier.

A console table in the hall also creates an illusion of space which can be amplified by the addition of a lamp. HomesDirect365 has a range in the style of almost every era including Art Deco, Regency, the 1960s and the 1970s. Prices start at £233.

The bedroom is often the most cramped room in either a house or flat which is why this can be the best place to experiment with mirrored furniture. 

The desire to preserve family harmony is another reason. The other members of your household may prefer the kitchen and living room to be slick and understated, seeing anything mirrored as excessive.

In the bedroom, however, you can indulge your decor fantasies. Habitat has the one-drawer Hepburn bedside table for £76.

Next offers the antique effect Fleur bedside table which costs £225 for the one-drawer version and £275 for the two-drawer version. 

The Fleur is also available as a six-drawer chest for £599 or a £1,150 double wardrobe if you seek to waft around your bedroom channelling your inner 1930s Hollywood screen siren. 

Dunelm’s Venetian mirrored dressing table also offers a chance to live out your dream of silver screen stardom (£449).

If mirrored furniture has brought out your party animal, kindling a passion for Art Deco in every guise, Divine Savages offers Deco Martini wallpaper whose design is based on the geometric forms, with a hidden Martini glass within the print (£150 per roll).

Some of your guests may not be too busy checking out their reflections on the doors of the mirrored cabinet to notice this subtle and witty detail in the wallpaper.

Savings of the week! water jugs… Up to 52% off 

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

Sitting outside on a sunny afternoon is already delightful. But it is even more enjoyable if you are sipping on a cool drink or an iced coffee from a generously sized jug, or maybe even a Pimm’s. The arrival of the July sales means bargains abound.

If you prioritise practicality, Ocado’s textured lustre plastic picnic jug has 33 per cent off at £8.

The price of the pleasingly geometric plastic smoky-grey Prism jug from Wayfair is 16 per cent off at £10.10. 

If you would like to feel as if you are in the south of France, John Lewis has the plain glass Arles wicker-wrapped jug. It is reduced from £25 to £12, down 52 per cent.

Wanting something more elegant that you can also use for flowers? The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is also half-price at £22.

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VGP acquires French logistics development

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VGP NV and VALGO signed an agreement to purchase 32 hectares of land that housed the former Petroplus refining units in Petit-Couronne, near Rouen. This brownfield rehabilitation project is fully in line with VGP’s core expertise and strategy. Thanks to the six years ownership of the site by VALGO and its expertise in asbestos removal, soil and water table decontamination, in-situ waste treatment and development, this area has now become a suitable site for the development of new industries and business activities.

 

On the banks of the river Seine and close to the A13 highway, the 32-hectare area of land offers its future users a highly strategic location. Following the extensive depollution work carried out by VALGO, the site is now ready for redevelopment. VGP expanded into France only a few months ago and is delighted to start its French business activities in the dynamic Rouen Normandy metropolis area, via this major project. In total, around 150,000m² of land are set to be redeveloped to accommodate industrial and logistics projects, with work due to begin in 2023.

 

Jan Van Geet, CEO VGP, said: “VGP is delighted to begin its business activities in France on a site as exceptional as this one, with strong economic and environmental ambitions that are shared by both our partner, VALGO, and the local authorities. As the rehabilitation of brownfield sites is at the heart of our business, this project is a great opportunity for us to deploy our industrial and logistical know-how. The uncertain geopolitical situation and the rise in transport prices mean that companies are increasingly looking for local support to start their business. In this context, we strongly believe in the relevance of our integrated model with a long-term vision. We are now eager to get to work and bring all the expertise of the Group to the project.”

 

Francois Bouche, CEO VALGO, commented: “We are delighted that this huge piece of land has been sold to a major investor with experience in redeveloping brownfields in Europe. However, I would first like to celebrate the work of the men and women who worked so hard to make this colossal project a success. It took more than 1 million hours and over €60m in investment by VALGO to turn the page on over 80 years of refining on this site, which already employs 600 people.”

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