Armored Access Blog

Are Surveillance Cameras an Invasion of Privacy?

Written By
Bill Marusza
September 28, 2016

With a world on the fast track to a digital and technologically advanced future, areas of security are being redesigned, reimagined, and instituted in all parts of everyday life. Surveillance cameras, a technology once thought of as not worth the expense less than a decade ago, have become dramatically more affordable and can be found in homes, businesses, and in public areas all over the world. With this influx of digital monitoring and recording has come debated concerns about privacy rights and legality. Are surveillance cameras an invasion of privacy? Well, that all depends on how they are being used.

Whether it’s for a residencebusiness, or public area, surveillance is applied in the observance and protection of property, assets, individuals; and the deterrence of crime. One of the biggest concerns raised over surveillance cameras is the legality in their areas of operation. This of course is in reference to the invasion of personal privacy. While a valid concern, when speaking in terms of legality, they are usually well within their rights. There are universal laws that regulate the use of surveillance cameras, and respectively, every state has it’s own stipulations on certain areas. Simply put however, you have the right to record whatever you want as long as it is not directed in a manner or area that is considered to have expectations of privacy.

Surveillance in Public Areas

A public space generally refers to any area that is openly available to people. This can include parks, roads, sidewalks, squares, or beaches.  When discussing the use of cameras in these areas the consensus is simple; when you are in a public setting there is little to no expectation of privacy. Therefore there is noright to privacy in that area.

Surveillance in Residential & Business Areas

Residential and business surveillance have similar regulations. Home and business owners alike have the right to record events that occur on their property. Homeowners typically use surveillance cameras to document the status and safety of their residence and possessions while they are away or not in an immediate area of their property. Likewise, business owners use surveillance to keep track of their assets and investments as wells as the safety of employees and guests on their property.

When cameras are placed in doors regulations do tighten up and it is wise to educate yourself on your state’s stipulations on surveillance. As stated earlier a camera cannot be directed towards or exist in an area that is reasonably considered to be private. This universally includes areas like locker rooms, bathrooms, hotel or rented rooms, and even break rooms in some states. Dressing rooms are another example, but there have been some cases where it has been found within a stores legal rights because trying on clothes doesn’t require a person to be completely nude and it is an area that holds merchandise. Changing room cameras however are something that most clothing and department stores would never implement as to not deter customers from shopping at their establishments.

Cameras placed on the outside of buildings, residences, or in public areas must also be careful to not be positioned in the direction that may look inside windows of private properties or buildings.

What About Audio Recording?

Federal anti wiretapping laws protect people’s privacy while in any type of communication. It is illegal to use any device to record wire, oral, or electronic communications. Because of these laws most surveillance cameras are not set to capture audio. Any audio recording requires a person’s consent. You can face severe penalties if you are found to be recording audio. The rapidly evolving camera market is producing a wide range of simple do-it-yourself setups to high tech surveillance systems. With businesses like Couchsurfing and Airbnb, some of these systems have become especially popular and have created a new series of debates on regulations of privacy versus protection. We all have a legal right to protect ourselves and our property with the use of surveillance cameras. Armored Access has over 40 years experience in the field and can show you exactly what you need to secure your home or business the right way. We’ll answer and explain all of your questions and concerns. Visit our website to claim a free analysis. Thank you for choosing Armored Access.

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