Video surveillance in the neighbourhood


Video surveillance in the neighbourhood


My neighbour has installed a video camera. Is this permitted? Is my neighbour required to ask for my permission?

Private individuals who install video cameras generally do so for security purposes. A person may claim an overriding private interest in video surveillance and thus justify it, provided that the data obtained is handled in compliance with the law. If the camera is positioned to film an area that is not normally used exclusively by the person operating the camera, the interest in protection of other persons affected by this video surveillance must be taken into account as part of a balancing of interests. 

If your neighbour (or your property manager or landlord) intends to install a camera to monitor an area or room used by a certain group of people, e.g. the garage or laundry room, then you and anyone else who uses this area must be consulted in advance. Only by involving the persons who are likely to be filmed (the data subjects) can a solution be found that takes all interests into account and is therefore acceptable to everyone.

 Even if the camera is primarily intended to monitor only the neighbour's private property and not a shared area, you may still be directly affected by this video surveillance, depending on the position of the camera and other circumstances (e.g. if you have a right of way that passes before the camera). If the camera cannot be placed in another position, and you will potentially be in the camera's field of view, then the neighbour must also consult you in advance.

I am affected by video surveillance - what rights do I have?

If you suspect that you are being filmed by the installed camera, start out by talking to your neighbour. You can also ask whether video recordings of you exist, what the purpose of the video surveillance is, how long the recordings are kept and who all has access to the recordings (Art. 25 FADP). You also have a right to view images or film clips in which you are visible and if need be to demand that they be deleted. If you believe that the video surveillance does not respect the data protection principles, and violates your privacy, you can ask your neighbour to delete the recordings and to adjust the recording angle or the camera location.

My neighbour won’t respond to my requests. How can I assert my rights?

If you are unable to reach a satisfactory solution, you may take legal action in accordance with Article 32 paragraph 2 FADP. You can bring civil proceedings pursuant to Article 28 of the Civil Code against your neighbour to demand the deletion of the data, a declaration that the video surveillance is unlawful, the cessation or adjustment of the surveillance and, if necessary, claim compensation. 

Can I report my neighbour to the communal authorities?

The installation of video cameras to monitor one's own property does not require any special authorisation (not even from the FDPIC). Some communes have data protection offices that help mediate if there are questions or disputes regarding video surveillance of private property by private individuals. Contact your communal authority to find out if they offer such a service. 

Can I report my neighbour to the police?

The Criminal Code prohibits:

  • recording private conversations (Art. 179bis-ter SCC) Conversations could be recorded, for example, if videos are made with a mobile phone or if a permanently installed video camera at the house or apartment films with sound. 
  • Image recordings of a person in a private space (Art. 179quater SCC). The concept of private space is interpreted narrowly.This could include views of a bedroom or bathroom. If one or both of these offences apply to your situation, you can also file a criminal complaint with the police. 

In all other cases, video surveillance is a civil matter. In such cases, start out by talking to your neighbour. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you can take legal steps as described above by filing a civil action. s Gespräch zu suchen. Falls sie sich nicht einigen können, steht Ihnen der oben beschriebene Rechtsweg mittels Zivilklage offen. 

How does this court procedure actually work?

As a first step, you must submit a request for arbitration to the arbitration authority of the competent court in your district. This can be done verbally on site or in writing. You can find out about the formalities for submitting your request by calling the court or visiting its website. A conciliation hearing is then held to try to reach an agreement between the parties.

If no agreement is reached, you will be allowed to file a civil action. You can be represented by a lawyer if you wish.  No court costs are charged for proceedings concerning disputes under the Data Protection Act. However, this does not apply to your lawyer’s fees.



Further topics

Video Surveillance of Public Places by Private Individuals

Generally speaking, private individuals are not permitted to operate CCTV systems on public property.

Video Surveillance by Private Individuals

When are private individuals allowed to install video surveillance?

Right to information

In accordance with the Federal Act on Data Protection, any person may request information from the controller of a data file as to whether their personal data is being processed.


Here you can download all documents sorted by topics.

The main provisions

Here you can find out more about changes to the Data Protection Act, which came into force on 1 September 2023.

Last modification 19.06.2023

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