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Old 29.01.2019, 11:34
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Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

Hello all,

We own a chalet in a very small hamlet in the Valais. There are about 40 houses and 10 full-time residents. We've installed a security camera on our balcony, not for security, but in order to monitor the snowfall . It has a bright red night-vision indicator but is otherwise innocuous and is quite a ways away from the street, although you can see it. I suppose there might be a concern that it is looking into the house across the street or something but we can only see our front garden and our parking space, nothing more.

We've just been told by our friendly neighbour that someone saw the police investigating the camera. My question is why? Is it illegal to have a security camera on your own property? Why would someone call the police?! I should add that one of the residents is a stereotypical Swiss busybody so maybe it's just that...Obviously if we need to we will remove the camera. But I just would like to know if we're falling foul of some law I'm unaware of. Many thanks!
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Old 29.01.2019, 11:37
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

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I suppose there might be a concern that it is looking into the house across the street or something but we can only see our front garden and our parking space, nothing more.
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Old 29.01.2019, 14:51
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

Thank you. So I guess the issue is that part of the street could be seen and that might infringe on people's rights? Actually it's only our car parking space and a very small part of the middle of the road that is shown, but I suppose it could be argued that way.We'll go and talk to the neighbour. Thanks again!
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Old 30.01.2019, 13:34
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

I'm pretty sure if someone really insists you would have to uninstall it, since it's pointing outside your property.

I have a camera in a shared indoor garage to monitor my cars. I'm pretty sure someone sooner or later will challenge me for that, even though it only shows my parking spots.
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Old 30.01.2019, 13:48
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

There are webcams everywhere in Switzerland.

Unless it is actually pointing into someone's property then I can't see why you would need to remove it.

There are plenty of webcams in Switzerland that point at peoples' property.
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Old 30.01.2019, 23:42
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

The red flashing led is going to make people feel like you're filming them. Cover it over and forget about it.
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Old 31.01.2019, 04:53
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

The Swiss police is the only institution allowed to monitor and record anything and everything in Switzerland. So they will take action against anyone not explicitly approved by them to monitor and record... If you walk down the street in Zurich you will see every jewelry store has camera monitoring the street outside their shop... But they have approval.
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Old 31.01.2019, 09:31
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

From experience with a previous employer trying to do the same, the key is the direction of the camera. If it is pointing outward away from your property it could easily be seen to invade privacy of others, any capture of a public space like road or sidewalk would not be allowed, as well as other private property. However placing camera a meter or two from entrance door and pointing inwards towards the door/house would be ok.
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Old 07.02.2019, 10:58
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

Thanks everyone. After asking around we discovered that it was the nosy old lady who called the police. She has made someone else remove their security camera because it violated her privacy. The neighbour across the street doesn't mind the camera at all.

We have adjusted it so that the camera is pointing at our property only (including our parking space) and not the road at all so it depends whether the police think it is acceptable. We wait to hear from them and if required we will remove it.

Unfortunately the red light is the night vision sensor and not the led so removing it is not an option.

Thanks for all the replies!
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Old 07.02.2019, 11:07
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

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We have adjusted it so that the camera is pointing at our property only (including our parking space) and not the road at all so it depends whether the police think it is acceptable. We wait to hear from them and if required we will remove it.
I would think the issue isn't the public space as such but the ability (or lack thereof) to identify people. Likewise with your neighbor.
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Old 07.02.2019, 11:12
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

Two things you need to know to be on the save side


1. You are only allowed to film your own property, so no street in the picture for example
2. You need to inform the people that they are get filmed before they get filmed (Sign)


...but where there is no plaintiff, there is no judge

Last edited by NoToM; 07.02.2019 at 12:38.
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Old 07.02.2019, 11:19
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

you do not have to remove cameras on your property. This video privacy thing is a civil matter and as long as there is no victim with proof that you are recording them then there is no civil case against you its not a criminal matter. The same applies to car dash cameras. everybody has them and are recording everything in public but there is no victim unless the video ends up on you-tube and then a person can accuse you in civil court and ask for compensation.

again to be clear it is your responsibility to ensure that public areas are not recorded and that whatever you are recording is safeguarded and does not go into the public.
The government does not want everyone recording everything, only the police can record everything in Switzerland and they hate competition...
But that is slowly changing...

So once again: if you own the property and are monitoring your own property then nobody can tell you to stop. They can ask and be rude but cannot tell you to stop because its your property. If its public property or you are renting then you must have permission and everyone in the building must agree.


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Thanks everyone. After asking around we discovered that it was the nosy old lady who called the police. She has made someone else remove their security camera because it violated her privacy. The neighbor across the street doesn't mind the camera at all.

We have adjusted it so that the camera is pointing at our property only (including our parking space) and not the road at all so it depends whether the police think it is acceptable. We wait to hear from them and if required we will remove it.

Unfortunately the red light is the night vision sensor and not the led so removing it is not an option.

Thanks for all the replies!

Last edited by edzoom; 07.02.2019 at 14:03.
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Old 07.02.2019, 11:23
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

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you do not have to remove cameras on your property. This video privacy thing is a civil matter and as long as there is no victim with proof that you are recording them then there is no civil case against you.

the same applies to car dash cameras. everybody has them and are recording everything in public but there is no victim unless the video ends up on you-tube and then a person can accuse you in civil court and ask for compensation.

but its not a criminal matter and the police can not order you to remove camera or to stop recording even if you are recording the police.
Did you read the links that SwissInTheUS posted?
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Old 07.02.2019, 11:38
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

Recent events have made me think that security cameras to monitor my garden would go along way to making me feel a bit safer.

However, my concern is not so much someone entering the property, but rather standing at the fence throwing things over. As such, I would have to monitor the perimeter, which realistically would include a bit beyond.

If I am reading these posts correctly, capturing images of someone standing on the outside of my fence is illegal - is that correct? The last thing I need is Nachbarstreit.

And, are there companies who do not only installation but also guarantee full legal compliance? If so, any recommendations in the Ausserschwyz/Obersee/left side Zürichsee area?
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Old 07.02.2019, 11:54
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

yes there are a lot of companies google search.
your camera should not point at someones private property
you should not record people on public property but as you describe it is acceptable
you must ensure that the recording will not become public or live accessible to the public.
if your neighbor agrees then you can point the camera towards his house .
police will always appreciate people that can provide video of crimes.
the more the better!

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Recent events have made me think that security cameras to monitor my garden would go along way to making me feel a bit safer.

However, my concern is not so much someone entering the property, but rather standing at the fence throwing things over. As such, I would have to monitor the perimeter, which realistically would include a bit beyond.

If I am reading these posts correctly, capturing images of someone standing on the outside of my fence is illegal - is that correct? The last thing I need is Nachbarstreit.

And, are there companies who do not only installation but also guarantee full legal compliance? If so, any recommendations in the Ausserschwyz/Obersee/left side Zürichsee area?
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Old 07.02.2019, 13:15
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

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Did you read the links that SwissInTheUS posted?
I'm not sure what you are objecting to in edzoom's post. He has basically outlined what is in the links posted by SwissInTheUS.

Neither home surveillance cameras nor dashcams are forbidden.


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Recent events have made me think that security cameras to monitor my garden would go along way to making me feel a bit safer.

However, my concern is not so much someone entering the property, but rather standing at the fence throwing things over. As such, I would have to monitor the perimeter, which realistically would include a bit beyond.

If I am reading these posts correctly, capturing images of someone standing on the outside of my fence is illegal - is that correct? The last thing I need is Nachbarstreit.

And, are there companies who do not only installation but also guarantee full legal compliance? If so, any recommendations in the Ausserschwyz/Obersee/left side Zürichsee area?

Even a company can not set up a camera to film the outside of your property.

You can do this yourself really. You just need to make it is "justified" and prevention of burglary and vandalism is justified and make sure you are not filming outside the boundary of your property unless the neighbor agrees.
You will also need to put up a sign at the border to indicate there is a surveillance system.



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police will always appreciate people that can provide video of crimes.
the more the better!
Actually, this is do not agree with. The more the better is not what the police want. You can not use your surveillance to rat out a minor crime but it is acceptable when there is a serious incident like an accident, vandalism or burglary.
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Old 07.02.2019, 14:57
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

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You just need to make it is "justified" and prevention of burglary and vandalism is justified and make sure you are not filming outside the boundary of your property unless the neighbor agrees.
You will also need to put up a sign at the border to indicate there is a surveillance system.
Do I need to do anything upfront to prove that a camera is justified before installing one, or is it more a case of making sure you are in compliance in case questioned after the fact?

What about just having a camera visible and obviously pointed to the fence, with warning signs posted, but not filming? Sort of like a deterrent decoy? Is this allowed?

All I really want is for the #$%@&# to know that I am aware, the police are aware, and he/she should think twice.
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Old 07.02.2019, 15:38
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

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All I really want is for the #$%@&# to know that I am aware, the police are aware, and he/she should think twice.
I got to ask: what are they throwing into your garden?
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Old 07.02.2019, 16:08
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

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Do I need to do anything upfront to prove that a camera is justified before installing one, or is it more a case of making sure you are in compliance in case questioned after the fact?

What about just having a camera visible and obviously pointed to the fence, with warning signs posted, but not filming? Sort of like a deterrent decoy? Is this allowed?

All I really want is for the #$%@&# to know that I am aware, the police are aware, and he/she should think twice.
The links say nothing about getting permission first. I doubt that it is necessary. You are experiencing vandalism. That seems clear justification. But if you feel nervous about it, start making notes about everything.



The links suggest that dummy cameras are a bad idea.
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Old 07.02.2019, 17:18
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Re: Security cameras: are they legal here? (Police have been called about ours!)

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I got to ask: what are they throwing into your garden?
i'm guessing food spiked with stuff to kill dogs. frankly in such a case, i would film regardless and make sure the video leaked anonymously to various animal terrorists with the perpetrators details and let mob justice do the work for you.
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