A MAN is facing the prospect of an £100k payout to his neighbour after his Ring Doorbell was deemed to have breached her privacy.
John Woodard, was told yesterday that he may have to pay Dr Mary Fairhurst the huge sum after a judge found his use of the cameras broke data laws and caused harassment.
According to the Mail Online, the 45-year-old, who is an audio-visual technician, said he had originally fitted the four devices after robbers had attempted to steal his car in 2019.
The devices, which are connected via the internet, are primarily designed to notify absent home-owner when a visitor arrives at the door.
The owner can then use an app to watch and talk to the visitor by using the doorbell’s built-in camera and microphone.
But neighbour Dr Fairhurst, of Thame, Oxfordshire, claimed that the Ring devices were “intrusive” and had left her feeling under “continuous visual surveillance.”
She felt so strongly on the matter that she even moved out of her home.
Oxford County Court later heard how she had felt harassed after Mr Woodard, who had been neighbours with the woman for 20 years, had become ‘aggressive’ with her when she complained.
And yesterday, Judge Melissa Clarke concluded that Mr Woodard had breached the Data Protection Act 2018 as well as General Data Protection Regulation.
In her ruling, she said the images and audio files of Dr Fairhurst captured on the Ring devices were classed as the doctor’s personal data.
She added that Mr Woodard had failed to process it in a “fair or transparent manner.”
Following the hearing, the devastated homeowner said he was “extremely disappointed and shocked” by the verdict.
According to the MailOnline, he had bought the devices “in good faith” in order to protect his property and vehicles.
He said: “To now be told these are harassment devices feels like a joke and I myself feel like I am being harassed.
“Many of my neighbours have cameras and smart doorbells.”
The landmark ruling is believed to be first of its kind in the UK and could set a precedent for the estimated 100,000 owners of the Ring smart doorbell nationally.
Amazon, who distribute the Ring devices, have since advised owners to ensure people know they are being filmed by putting Ring stickers on their door or windows.
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