Whether you are securing your home or business, perimeter security is often your first line of defense. Aside from the exterior of the structure, perimeter security creates boundaries to keep intruders out. If you are considering perimeter security, there are numerous options available to you – here’s what you need to know.
Locks are very important to perimeter security. If you have nothing protecting your property beyond the walls of your home or building, you will need to invest in strong, sturdy locks. The most common breach would be forced entry, which simply destroys the lock to gain access. To safeguard against this, you want to choose locks that make use of hardened metal alloys that are as thick as possible.
Cutting attacks are common if you are using padlocks on your gates. Aside from the shackles of the locks, the hasp or chain being secured by the padlock may also be targeted for cutting. If these are weaker than the lock, the strength of the lock will not matter.
When it comes to covert entry, bump keys are more of a concern than lock picking, as the latter wastes time and effort. The internal complexity for locks will help increase perimeter security and prevent unauthorized key duplication.
Unlike a fence, walls provide more privacy as they better obstruct visibility. Higher walls mean lower visibility and a greater obstacle to gain entry. The downside is that the decreased visibility affects both sides, meaning that while outsiders may not be able to see in, you may not be able to see anyone approaching the property.
Luckily, the visibility concerns for high walls can be resolved with the use of security cameras or other forms of documentation (such as security guards). Documentation is a key consideration (which will be discussed further), but it is not always feasible for some.
In the end, it all comes down to the intention of your perimeter security. With a wall, you get more privacy and a sturdy barrier which allows you to put more focus on securing the gate.
Fences offer extreme flexibility in that the price, look, and functionality have the most range. You can adjust the visibility by choosing different designs and even growing ivy or other plants around it. In extreme cases, most common fences may be easier to electrify, depending on the material of the fence.
Unless you have concerns about automotive ramming threats, the fact that a fence is weaker than a wall may be a minor detail. However, fences may be compromised at certain points, whether from vandalism or wear, thus creating entryways which defeat the purpose of perimeter security measures. Even if the openings are not wide enough for humans, you run the risk of animal infestation or pet escape.
Wood fences and chain link fences are often the most common types, and usually signify a boundary that others should not cross, or simply denote a property line. Fences alone are rarely high security, but with electrification or barbed wire, they can be somewhat intimidating.
A gate is the moving section on a gate or wall that allows entry and exit through perimeter security. Because this is usually the only point of entry and exit around the perimeter of a building, the gate will need a locking mechanism.
If you are planning on taking vehicles past the perimeter security, you may want to use a motorized track and electronic lock. For gates with less traffic or only foot traffic, choose a high-security padlock. There may also be a gate setup that allows you to use a deadbolt and or/keyed handle/knob.
For effective perimeter security, a keyed handle/knob may not be the best choice. A deadbolt provides more security, however, the strength of the deadbolt must be considered. But keep in mind, if the lock is too strong, the material of the gate may be attacked, or intruders may simply climb over.
Perimeter security systems should always consider lighting, and one of the first things to assess is shadows. Trees, pillars and other tall obstructions will create dark shadows for criminals to lurk. With proper light, you afford yourself the ability to see criminals approaching or attempting to bypass your perimeter security.
Motion sensor lights are effective in that they focus attention and are often the choice for many residential buildings without security guards. For residents, a light turning on suddenly will often alert them of unexpected movement around the house. For those properties with high walls, or an obstructing fence, the abrupt light hopefully catches the attention of neighbors or pedestrians.
Despite drawing attention, your security depends on whether or not bystanders or neighbors intervene. Everyone has an interest in preventing crime, but if someone is unaware of the threats or the victim, people may do nothing to avoid confrontation. It may behoove you and your property to get to know your neighbors and keep a lookout for each other.
Alerts & Notification
Some people may struggle with the decision of investing in a dog or an alarm system. While getting both is definitely an option, the decision will likely come down to your ability to take care of an animal. When it comes to alarms, you will want one that offers monitored security so that authorities can be notified in case of emergency.
However, these notifications are only effective if response times are within the average time it takes to commit a break-in. If not, alerts and notifications are rather useless. A loud alarm may help to alert anyone who is around to the crime that is taking place.
If you’re looking for more discreet notifications, a smart lock with access notifications might be the solution. This allows you to know when a lock has been opened, and can be extremely helpful if you suspect any internal threats.
Most perimeter security systems rely on security cameras. They are largely accessible and are great for capturing evidence of threats and criminal acts.
Before installing security cameras, you should know what is allowed and what is not. You must abide by the law when it comes to documentation efforts otherwise your footage will be useless and may even get you in hot water.
When choosing cameras, you should keep your security intentions in mind. If you need footage that will hold up in court, you will need the right kind of camera to record quality video in that environment. You will need to consider glare from the daylight and possibly night vision. Also, you need to consider placement as you may need multiple cameras to adequately cover your perimeter. If you have more questions regarding security cameras systems and installation, feel free to call us at 888-203-6294.
A positive natural barrier is something that offers another level of security to your property. This can be anything from the proximity to a police station to a single, long road leading to your home.
Consequently, there are also natural barriers that prevent you from taking full advantage of your possible perimeter security system. For example, a treeline on the side of your property may offer a natural border, however, it may also help intruders cover their approach. Also, motion sensor cameras and lights placed in heavy foot traffic areas may produce lots of false alarms, becoming more of a nuisance than an effective security measure.
Your best bet is to identify what works for you and what does not in terms of security. You shouldn’t invest in a method of perimeter security just to use it. Focus on the positive barriers and try to compensate for any negative barriers you cannot change.
The consideration for aesthetics is to find a balance between it and your perimeter security. Rather than choosing to make the property look good and then incorporate security, you should be trying to make the security you need look good.
If you are adding to your landscape or home, you should always consider how it will affect your perimeter security. It is best to opt for something with a neutral or positive effect, not something that will be a detriment.
Who has access to your property is a very important part of making your perimeter security work to your benefit. Key control is a good starting point (numeric codes, RFID remotes, physical keys, etc.). With codes and biometric locks, your access control management software may make it quite simple to know who is entering the property and when. If any issues arise, it is easy to simply revoke privileges.
Those who have access should be trusted individuals. You should be sure that they will not take advantage of your property and will take the necessary precautions to protect their key from being stolen or misused.
Key control for physical keys can be taken care of by investing in locks with patented keyways. This will improve your protection against most forms of covert entry, but mostly it will prevent unauthorized key duplication.
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Over the years, video surveillance has made great improvements in regards to design, features, functionality and application. As our technologies continue to evolve, the surveillance industry is bound to grow and expand even further.
In 1996, Axis Communications introduced the first IP Camera. This was originally used for monitoring the sea for oil spills, saving their customers from having to take two flights a day. Decades later, digital cameras are now the norm, from entertainment to security purposes.
When it comes to security, because we are very visual and use our eyes more than any other senses, we tend to prefer video. This is why we see CCTV surveillance cameras nearly everywhere these days. But how can we improve it?
Video surveillance can be valuable to businesses, however, monitoring the live feed 24/7 is not very realistic. Other detection tools, such as perimeter breach or motion detection, in conjunction with an alarm or alert system helps to improve security. But, as with most things, it has its flaws. These can include problems with detecting the breach, a bad judgment call in regards to what is seen, how long the feed is monitored and the length of backtracking.
Video analytics is more prevalent these days and makes efforts to address this issue. Thanks to advancing software and artificial intelligence (AI), video analytics can determine a human from an animal, eliminating false alarms caused by a pet at home. It also eliminates human error and takes motion detection a step further, as some systems can also distinguish between a known house member and a stranger.
Business and home protection continues to advance as more security camera systems integrate video analytics along with alarms, PIR sensors, and smart recordings. And thanks to edge computing, these technologies are becoming more accessible. By performing data processing at the edge of the network, close to the source of data, edge computing ultimately optimizes system performance.
But aside from all these advancements and improvements, privacy is still an important issue. Many feel uncomfortable having cameras watching over them and having their video streamed into the cloud. But what if our security systems became so advanced that video surveillance became unnecessary?
Hypothetically, an “Optical Analytic Sensor” could use edge computing to process new, updated analytics without having to transmit video. Instead, detailed descriptions of events would serve as data, eliminating bandwidth requirements and video privacy issues. Using advanced tools and AI, this sensor device could learn how to distinguish between known users and strangers. Thus, the device could automatically grant access t authorized users, eliminated passwords, codes, pins or keys. In a commercial setting, this device could sound an alarm for any unauthorized persons while ignoring those who are allowed to be there.
Again, this is all hypothetical and we may be years away from such an advanced and sophisticated system, but this shows how video analytics have the potential of enhancing various security applications.
From simple cameras that captured video of the area in front of them to advanced cameras that offer exceptional features, our security camera systems have come a long way. The security industry has embraced the high-tech boom, offering sophisticated solutions and attracting more interest from consumers, thus driving home security system sales up over the years. We can only expect this to continue thanks to these security camera innovations, as well as those yet to come.
Video quality was once the defining factor of how advanced your camera was. Since high-definition and improved resolutions have taken care of that aspect, focus has now turned to the range and extent of camera views. Currently, most cameras can offer about 130-degree views, but 360-degree views are already being offered by newer security cameras.
This type of biometric technology enables your security cameras to distinguish strangers from members of the household. By doing so, home owners can be alerted to when members arrive home, as well as when unwelcome guests try to enter.
What was once a special feature has now become a standard function for security cameras. Night vision cameras can see almost as well as they can during the day and are often built to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
The security room, dedicated to numerous monitors and feeds, is becoming obsolete. Modern technology is now allowing security cameras to be integrated with smart phones, sending the live feed directly to these devices. Users are even able to change the angle of the camera from their device to investigate the area in question further.
Solar Power Integration
Solar-powered camera systems are much more energy efficient and can cut out the complications and vulnerabilities of hard-wired camera systems. A broader range of businesses are able to access security solutions thanks to solar-powered security cameras paired with wireless systems.
This feature is especially convenient for parents and pet owners to check in on their loved ones. Users are able to communicate through the camera to check in with kids or scold unruly pets. This feature can also be used to scare off intruders remotely, avoiding any immediate danger.
Voice commands and voice control has become a staple in our everyday lives, so bringing it into the security realm only makes sense. With voice control technology, you are able to manage your security systems completely hands-free. For example, you can turn on a camera, lock the house, or close the garage by simply activating voice command.
For a great selection of security cameras and CCTV surveillance systems, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information about free CCTV quotes, site surveys, and installation services, please call 888-203-6294.
More and more people are turning their homes into smart homes. What once was seen as an extravagant luxury for the wealthy has now become accessible and affordable for nearly all homeowners.
While there are many ways to upgrade, smart home security seems to be the top priority for most home owners. Aside from protecting your home from burglars, fires, and other potential threats, you may also benefit from smart home security by getting rebates or special discounts from insurance companies.
Advances in technology have enabled smart home security manufacturers to offer varying levels of home security systems at different price points. Here’s how you can protect your home, from basic to advanced features.
If You Are On A Strict Budget…
At the bare minimum, smart home security starts with a camera. Smart security cameras can provide footage to identify burglars after the crime has been committed or can alert owners when unauthorized activity is detected, allowing burglars to be caught in the act. These cameras not only offer security for your home, but can be used as baby monitors and nanny cams. Special features may include the ability to differentiate between human and pets to prevent false alarms, as well as two-way audio to enable communication with anyone in the room
As beneficial as a one-camera setup can be, there are also limitations. The first and most obvious limitation being that one camera can only cover one room. Also, you must actively monitor the feed to maintain security. If you would like a system that needs less attention, you may want to explore other, more advanced options.
If You Are Looking For More Comprehensive Home Security…
You will want to look for a home security system that addresses the different ways your home security can be breached. Additional security components include motion sensors, door and window sensors, and surveillance signs.
If You Want A Highly Sophisticated Home Security System…
For around-the-clock surveillance of your home, you may want to invest in a security company that offers monitoring services for a monthly fee. While the hardware is almost the same as the aforementioned systems, when the alarm is triggered, the security company is notified and they assess the danger and alert the necessary authorities. Since you may not have your phone or device available at all times (ex. movies, traveling), this service can come in very handy.
Protect your home with an affordable CCTV surveillance camera system from SecurityCamExpert.com. Browse our stock online or call 888-203-6294 to discuss your options with a representative today!
Video surveillance has often proven helpful in producing evidence after a crime has been committed, and plays a role in deterring some incidents. But unfortunately, it seems video surveillance is no longer enough. Threats of violence and attacks have become more prevalent, forcing us to increase our security measures.
Containing and preventing violence has become rather costly over the years. In fact, the economic costs for prevention and recovery reached a peak high at $52.9 billion in 2014. This cost is far greater than the cost of carrying out the acts.
A real time solution is necessary. This can start with technology that has the ability to detect weapons while assessing the level of threat in the process. While this advanced technology could save lives, it could also save us billions of dollars by stopping these incidents before they happen.
For example, the fiscal impact of the September 11th attacks was found to have cost $55 billion in physical damage, $123 billion in economic damage, along with other expenses such as developing the Homeland Security Department and funding the war. The tragedy of lives lost and money spent to repair damages shows us that a more proactive approach, rather than reactive measures, would prove to be more effective.
It is estimated that the United States spends about $100 billion a year on counter-terrorism measures. With proactive efforts, these reactive expenses could possibly go toward other areas that need attention and improvement.
Aside from anti-terrorism, surveillance technologies can benefit many industries. For example, big retailers are investing more into their security. Wal-Mart, for instance, is in the process of deploying drones to monitor warehouse inventory. It is advances like this that get us one step closer to embracing futuristic machines.
Shop our selection of CCTV security cameras systems and more at SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions, please call 888-203-6294.
Loss prevention tactics began with in-store monitoring and patrol. As our technologies evolve and the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, security measures have improved. In fact, a U.S. retail fraud survey revealed that spending on store fraud prevention declined while online fraud prevention spending increased.
Because cybercriminals are constantly sharpening their skills, loss prevention specialists are using new technologies to their advantage as well. For example, data analytics have helped specialists understand suspicious behaviors and patterns in the e-commerce and m-commerce environment, and social media vigilance has helped to identify potential threats.
As the retail industry continues to expand and grow, what’s to come in the future of retail loss prevention?
It’s true that retail uses a variety of different technologies to operate, including point-of-sale transaction profiling as well as RFID tracking. However, now more than ever, video surveillance is playing a larger and smarter role.
With video surveillance, loss prevention officers have been able to catch thieves in the act and the recordings have provided excellent evidence. With the introduction of built-in facial recognition technology and video analytics, video surveillance can do so much more.
In the same vein, the smart features, connectivity and convenience put these devices at risk. While their role is to protect the business, retailers must do their part to protect their devices, data, shoppers, and employees.
IT & Outside Vendors
Because of this, loss prevention specialists must develop their knowledge and skills with the new technology. They should understand how to use data analysis to identify ever-changing criminal activities, such as new ideas, concepts and schemes.
Loss prevention specialists, cybersecurity specialists and IT team members must all work together to create a system that complies with privacy issues and maintains heightened security to prevent any data breaches or disasters.
Development Of New Responsibilities
As retailers begin to shift from their brick-and-mortar stores (some even closing completely) to focus on e-commerce and m-commerce, the role of data loss prevention specialists will morph into something new, which encompasses more aspects involved in keeping a company safe and secure.
When you decide to install home security cameras, where you place your cameras and how you use your footage is important to consider. For maximum protection, it is recommended to monitor common areas as well as possible points of entrance. While home surveillance is not banned, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid breaking the law.
Home Surveillance Concerns
Within your home, you do have the right to record without informing others, but there are very large exceptions to this rule. First, any area where a “reasonable expectation of privacy” is assumed is off limits. For example, if your home security cameras are monitoring your front yard and possibly the sidewalk and street, your expectation of privacy in these areas is low. On the other hand, bathrooms and bedrooms, where you may be in a state of undress, have a high expectation of privacy, and, thus, are prohibited.
Second, if your cameras enable audio recording, you may want to brush up on wiretapping laws. While these vary slightly from state to state, federal statutes allow audio recording so long as one of the two parties consents. This basically means that you, as the recorder, may know and give consent without informing the other party. However, some states, including California, require dual consent, meaning both parties must be aware and agree to be recorded.
In regards to recording burglars, any trespassers forfeit any expectation of privacy in your home. You may record the person, submit the footage to police, and use your video in court.
For cameras that run non-stop and record audio, you will want to warn any person that is allowed access to your home that these cameras are there and running, otherwise you may run the risk of breaking wiretapping laws. These people include family members, guests/visitors, delivery persons or installers.
The Consent Conundrum
You may now be wondering how you can lawfully gain dual consent. Will verbal consent or a surveillance sticker in the window suffice, or should you have every guest fill out a consent form upon entering? Unfortunately, consent for audio recordings must be given in written form. It is a common misconception that window decals or yard signs are sufficient means to gain consent, as it is expected for visitors to see and recognize them.
However, in a home setting, there may be an exception to the rule. With home cameras, it boils down to what you do, or intend to do, with your recordings. If you don’t do anything with the recording, it is likely that no one will know or care – no harm, no foul.
If you do something with the recording, things change. For example, say a celebrity is a guest in your home and now you have footage of this celebrity hanging out in your home. While selling this footage to a gossip magazine for profit may seem enticing, you will be breaking the law. First, consent was never given from this celebrity. Second, you cannot use a recording for commercial gain without the subject’s consent.
In regards to wiretapping, a possible solution is to simply turn off audio recording if your devices permit. However, why turn off a service that you have paid for? While thieves are usually fairly quiet while they work, using audio recording for eavesdropping may be beneficial (but puts forth yet another ethical dilemma).
Uses For Recordings
Let’s say you record someone in your home plotting a crime, or admitting to committing a crime. Most states allow you to use the recording to prevent a crime or prove that one was committed.
However, if the recording does not involve a crime and you decide to post it on YouTube or a social media site, you could be engaging in illegal activity. Using a recording for exploitive or commercial purposes (as in the previous celebrity example) may be misappropriation if not all parties consent. As a reminder, laws vary from state to state so please look into your own state’s laws.
Also, even within your own home, recording with the intention of blackmail is illegal.
Law enforcement has the right to ask for your home surveillance if they suspect illegal activity, and a warrant will likely be necessary. However, since most recordings are stored in the cloud, they may be able to go straight to the provider and obtain the footage, bypassing your permission to access.
What Should You Do?
To err on the side of caution, be sure that everyone entering your home is aware that the cameras are there, and avoid placing them in areas where privacy is expected. If you wish to withhold the information, so long as you do not do anything with the footage, you should be fine.
However, there are other reasons to be careful with the privacy of your security cameras. While you may not have the intention to do bad things, hackers may be able to access your cameras and broadcast your feed. To protect yourself and your guests, it is advised to take reasonable security precautions (ex. strong passwords, maintain security Wi-Fi network), and take the ethical high road when using new technology.
Video surveillance can be an invaluable asset for businesses. It helps to improve security, manage risks, and boost efficiency. Most benefits of video surveillance can be seen and measure, however, determining its financial return isn’t as easy.
In order to better understand the fiscal value of IP video surveillance, security leaders consider the impact and effect of a hypothetical security event. This gives them better insight to how effective their surveillance system is. And by understanding how IP video surveillance adds value to your business, you demonstrate your overall dedication to success. Here are some of the ways IP video surveillance can influence and improve your business.
A common reason to employ IP video surveillance is to protect your property, employees, and customers. It can help to minimizes losses when it comes to a security incident, however, it can go further. The application of IP video surveillance can also ensure cyber security, data protection, intellectual property and brand reputation. By protecting these assets, a cohesive approach to risk management can be achieved.
Again, video surveillance goes beyond security and safety. It has become a fundamental aspect when building a business. Aside from monitoring on-site and remote locations, surveillance footage can be analyzed to improve employee productivity and help to measure the success of marketing campaigns. This data can be valuable across different departments, which adds to its value and merit.
There are different ways you can evaluate and determine the total cost of ownership for your system. For example, by investigating liability claims with video footage, you can save money and prevent future slip-and-fall claims. Some cases may be proven false, while others may bring to light new or unnoticed safety risks that can be addressed.
The stronger your system is, the more money you can potentially save. The most effective systems are comprised of enough cameras to cover all areas and detect crimes in progress, with highly trained staff to monitor the different feeds. A system that can do this as well as integrate the technology into all manner of law enforcement activities will demonstrate true ROI to security leaders.
Remote monitoring is an excellent luxury of IP video surveillance. When alarms go off or unfamiliar activity is detected, rather than sending managers or guards to investigate, you are provided with alerts and can respond quickly and appropriately.
Building a system that meets these standards will be a great addition to your business. What other benefits do you enjoy with your video surveillance system? If you don’t have one now, are you considering implementing an IP video surveillance system for your business? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Installing a surveillance system in your home or business can provide you with a sense of security. However, if you do not properly secure your system, cyber criminals can gain access to your video feeds.
Aside from an unnerving invasion of privacy, unauthorized access to your surveillance video can help criminals study the area, identify where important property is located, figure out traffic patterns, sabotage systems, deny access to feeds, and much more.
Because IP security camera systems connect to LAN networks, extra precautions are necessary to safeguard your system from attacks. Breaches are usually due to human error, negligence, and misconfigurations, and can often be prevented. The following are common vulnerabilities and ways to protect your surveillance system.
Default usernames and passwords are common with most IP based security cameras. They are used to set up your system and accounts for remote access. Too often, people fail to change these passwords, or choose simple passwords, making it easy for strangers to access feeds.
Be sure to set strong passwords, use good password management or user certificates in lieu of passwords. You may want to consider changing your password periodically as well.
Avoid enabling unused services as it can leave your system vulnerable to attacks. For example, cyber criminals could install malicious applications and scripts using file transfer protocol (FTP) or an app platform from an untrusted developer.
Minimize your risk by disabling any unused services and installing only trusted apps.
Sometimes organizations fail to define who has access to different aspects of the surveillance system, possibly leading to confusion and employees with unnecessary access. For example, it may be unclear as to who is responsible for reviewing security measures to ensure proper protocol is being followed.
For IT departments, it is recommended to only allow users access to the resources they need to perform their job.
Bugs and flaws in software codes can put your devices at risk. Luckily, you can do your part to prevent this.
Always keep your cameras, equipment, and software up-to-date with the latest firmware to ensure that bugs will not pose a threat. Vendors often post public common vulnerabilities and exposure reports which provide solutions for users.
Physical Installation Problems
Whether it is your cameras, wiring, or other infrastructure, poor installation can leave your system at risk.
Cameras should be installed out of reach to avoid any possible tampering or vandalism, but at a proper angle to view people and objects clearly.
Poor Physical Protection Of Equipment (Cabling, Servers, Gear)
If your cabling, server, or other surveillance equipment is not properly protected, your system is at risk for poor, intermittent performance. A small kink or damage to a cable can interfere with signal, causing disruption in your feed or even power failure.
Appropriate housing to protect your equipment from severe weather or extreme heat is available and is recommended for use if you are in an area susceptible to these conditions.
Routine maintenance is ever important to ensure that your system is and will continue to function properly.
A preventative maintenance program should include a checklist of issues to look for in order to avoid small issues that can turn into big problems (ex. damaged/loose cameras and equipment, exposed, loose, or damaged cabling, dirt/moisture on camera lenses). This will allow the owner to become accustomed to the system and more aware when something seems different or wrong (ex. possible signs of tampering).
Flaws In Standard Network Protocols
Most network surveillance systems use standard network protocols (ex. FTP, TCP/IP), however, weaknesses or flaws in these protocols can expose surveillance data to attacks.
For video streams sent over the network, the latest advanced encryption methods should be used.
Failure To Align Hardware/Software On The Network With IT Policy
If your hardware or software does not meet your IT organization’s network security policy, there will be security issues. For example, third-party software or apps are often poorly supported or lack security patches which make them vulnerable to security breaches. Thus, your IT department will not be happy.
Enforcing a strong IT policy is imperative for any business.
Security cameras are a great way to keep an eye on your property or business. You can use them to look after your loved ones, protect your inventory, or deter intruders all together. As appealing as security camera systems are, it is wise to know and understand your local surveillance laws.
Before you invest in your own security cameras, please review these general guidelines. Remember, these are not meant to apply to your specific situation. Instead, they are meant to give you a general idea of what is and is not allowed. If you have any further questions regarding filming restrictions and such, please contact a local attorney or research laws within your city and state.
Camera placement is important because you want to capture high traffic areas, such as entrances and back doors. If you direct your camera at an insignificant area, you will waste time and money while defeating the purpose of your security system.
Placement is also important because there are areas that are off limits, including restrooms, other people’s homes, dressing rooms and locker rooms. Basically anywhere that there is an expectation of privacy, or you are likely to be in a state of undress, is off limits.
If you are unsure whether or not you are violating someone’s right to privacy, err on the side of caution and always consult a lawyer.
If you own a retail business, you may worry that customers might be committing crimes in blind spots such as dressing rooms, locker rooms, or restrooms. While legally you cannot monitor these areas, you can monitor the entrances/exits. Be sure that when the door opens, your camera does not get any glimpse of what’s behind that door, otherwise you could get into trouble. If a person goes into a restroom or dressing room with some inventory, and then exits without it that is a suggestion of a crime.
Areas that are viewable to the public are generally legal to film. This is how Google is able to provide the 360-degree street view for Google Maps. However, it is ill-advised to point your security cameras at your neighbor’s home. Whatever situation that warranted your desire or need to film your neighbor’s home could become escalated. Whether you are the one filming or the one being filmed, you may want to first speak with your neighbor about camera placement.
With audio recording, Federal Law only requires one person to know about the recording taking place. State laws will provide different regulations. Remember that federal law creates a baseline for laws. That is, state laws cannot allow for any less than one informed party.
Audio is not allowed to be obtained through eavesdropping or remote recording. Because at least one of the parties must know of the recording, you are not permitted to record conversations you are not a part of since you do not count as one of the parties. Even if the conversation is taking place in a public area, the parties can still expect privacy which protects them from eavesdroppers. In the same vein, you cannot leave your unattended recorder somewhere and use the recordings as evidence.
The easiest way to get around audio recording rules is to make the party aware that they are being recorded. For example, often times when you call a customer service line, you will likely hear, “This call may be recorded…” Continuing the conversation after this notification is usually viewed as consent. Thus, once you have informed someone that a room is being monitored by audio surveillance, they have the choice to continue their conversation in that room or move the discussion to a different room.
You may also record a person so long as you don’t intend on using the recording for illegal acts. Because one party is aware of the recording, the act of recording is not illegal. However, if your recording contains private information that is covered by the common law privacy, you may get into some hot water. The private information could be things like medical history (ex. miscarriage, abortion) so be sure to understand what is and is not covered.
The Constitution & Surveillance
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from “…unreasonable searches and seizures…” and details the rights of privacy. While you may think that some public security cameras would count as unreasonable, the case of Delaware v. Prouse will tell you otherwise. In this case, the Supreme Court stated that “people are not shorn of all Fourth Amendment protection when they step from their homes onto the public sidewalks”.
As far as the First Amendment goes, there has not been any critique on a camera’s existence suppressing behavior. In fact, in the Laird v. Tatum case, the court found that government surveillance of anti-war protesters did not hinder their freedom of expression. This can help security camera owners when there are accusations of civil liberty violations.
The First Amendment also gives you the right to document civil servants as they are performing their civic duties. The recordings are simply viewed as a way of exercising your rights. Officers may ask you to stop recording and ask for the evidence, however, you do not have to submit to their requests unless they have a warrant for your property.
The only instance in which you may be violating the law is if you are interfering with an investigation. This is often used to remove reporters from a crime scene, but your personal security camera should not interfere with the investigation. In fact, your video surveillance may be of use for the investigation.
If you ever wondered why most security cameras do not have microphones, it is because, in some cases, you may need dual consent to record audio. Violating dual consent is a felony. Your best bet is to get consent to be taped before recording, and then again as the first order of business when the recording begins. Off tape and on record consent will cover your bases if you are sued for violating wiretap laws. And although it is deemed “dual consent”, you must get the express consent of everyone being recorded.
The following states may have variations on the law and should be further researched: California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
The employer must have a legitimate reason for recording. The off limits areas include restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms. There may also be restrictions in the break room. Again, you cannot record any place in which a person should expect privacy. However, anywhere that an employee interacts with a customer can be monitored. For example, the sales floor is fair game, but a personal office may not be. You will need to use your best judgment or consult an attorney. Disclosing the use of surveillance equipment to your workers will cover your bases for any illegal wiretapping issues.
The biggest restriction for recording employees is in regards to unions. An employer may not record union activities such as meetings or even discussions about union business. And surveillance cannot be used to intimidate current or prospective members of the union.
Evidence for Trial
When you submit any type of recording to a court of law, the evidence is put on trial. The validity and handling of this evidence is then scrutinized. You, as the recorder, must prove that the evidence was in no way doctored. You must go through the steps of how the footage was obtained (ex. how the video was recorded, where the camera was located, the quality of the camera at different times of day, how it was stored, etc.), and verify the whereabouts of the evidence as it was transported to court. When the footage is not in court, it must be securely stored. The integrity of your recording may be compromised if there is any data loss due to a power surge or data dump.
With this information, you should be able to make informed decisions when it comes to your security camera system. If you have any tips to share, please connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
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