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What’s the law on having security cameras at home in Spain?

The Local Spain
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What’s the law on having security cameras at home in Spain?
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If you're worried about home security in Spain, you may want to know how, or where you can legally put security cameras in or around your house. Here's everything you need to know.


Many people consider putting up security cameras (cámaras de vigiliancia or cámaras de seguridad in Spanish) to improve home security. Whether to discourage theft and vandalism or simply to give you peace of mind, in 2023 there are countless options for home security systems that can even live stream HD-quality footage directly to your mobile.

But in Spain it's not as simple as simply putting up cameras wherever you want. There are rules about where you can have security cameras, especially in a country where many people live in shared apartment blocks with common areas. Things can get complicated and ultimately the decision might not actually be yours alone.

READ ALSO: How many CCTV cameras are there in Spain?

Data protection is also a strong component of Spain's security camera laws, and there are strict rules on accessing, storing and deleting images and personal data.

The Local has broken down everything you need to know about security cameras in Spain below.


The law

To simplify the rules, generally speaking, taking images of or recording on private property is allowed in Spain, but those that record public areas are not - with a couple of exceptions.

According to the Spanish government's official law on security cameras and data protection: "Cameras and camcorders installed in private spaces cannot obtain images of public spaces unless it is essential for the intended surveillance purpose, or it is impossible to avoid it due to the location of them". 

In the common areas of private buildings, things generally have to be decided on by la communidad (similar to a homeowner's association within the building) and with the approval of the majority of the owners in the buildings.

READ ALSO: ‘La comunidad’: What property owners in Spain need to know about homeowners’ associations

There are some steadfast rules you need to follow, regardless of where the camera is or where (public or private) it's recording.

  • Before taking images or recording video, the owner of the camera must register it with the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD).
  • In order to install a security camera, you are legally obliged put stickers in a visible place so that passers-by know that they are in an area covered by video surveillance. The poster must include the camera registration data and the address they can go to request that their image is deleted as is their right according to Spain's data protection legislation.
  • Only the owner of the camera can have access to the recorded images. If access to the feed is through the internet, it must be restricted by a username and password.
  • The place where the actual video surveillance equipment is located should itself have surveillance or restricted access. Only the authorised person (that is, the one who registered with AEPD) can access it.
  • You must save the images for up to 30 days after they have been recorded.


Can I legally record a neighbour's property or a public space?

Put simply: no, as the recording of images and videos are limited to private property. Therefore, recording public areas such as the street, adjoining land or nearby homes are not within your legal rights. 

However, as mentioned before, if the build or location of your private property means that a section of public space is unavoidably covered by the cameras, say a small section of the street or a shared entrance to a building, exceptions can be made, but it's always advisable to communicate everything with your neighbours and seek proper legal advice.

What about cameras facing my front door?

If the camera only records your property and the area covering the front door, technically speaking it is not illegal, despite being in a public place, because it is considered a personal domestic activity and is therefore not subject to the data protection laws.

Can I install security cameras in the common areas of my building?

If you, or anyone else, wants to install security cameras in the common areas of a shared building (say the lift or corridor) it must be approved in a meeting of la comunidad by a three-fifths majority.

Can I install cameras to keep an eye on people working on my private property?

If you want to record images of someone working on private property, say a builder or cleaner, you may install cameras for this purpose but must inform the worker beforehand in order to legally record them.

What happens if I record a crime with my security camera?

In the event that one of your cameras records footage of a criminal offence, you are legally bound to hand over any material to the police in person, and the images must not be used for any other purposes under any circumstances. 


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