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Security Cameras: What You Need To Know

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.

Filming
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.

Loopholes

  • Private Rooms

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.

  • Neighbors

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.

Audio
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.

Loopholes
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.

Recording Police
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.

Dual Consent
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.

Recording Employees
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.

For a great selection of quality security cameras, full CCTV surveillance packages, and more, please visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To learn more about our installation and services, or to schedule a site survey, please call 1-888-203-6294.

IHS Report 2014: Security Camera Systems

By now you know how beneficial security camera systems can be in terms of safety and protection. The popularity of security cameras and CCTV systems seems to be steadily growing. The advances in our technology are expanding our capabilities, adding to the allure of surveillance camera systems. But how many people actually use security cameras?

According to a report from IHS, there were 245 million professionally installed video surveillance cameras active and operational globally in 2014. This number does not reflect the other security camera systems (ex. DIY, plug-and-play) that consumers employ. It is great to see that many people are taking their protection and security seriously and installing security camera systems to combat crimes and burglaries.

Other findings from this research showed that most systems were analog, but it’s estimated that over 20% were network IP cameras, and 2% HD CCTV cameras. Of the study, 68% of installed security cameras were in Asia. Forecasts show that this percentage will increase in the coming years, likely due to the China’s role in the security camera industry.

Depending on the region, you will see different values placed on cost and reliability. For example, in China, prices are relatively low, but there is a higher replacement rate. In Europe and North America, costs are higher as a result of more reliable products that need replacement less frequently.

Do these findings surprise you? What type of surveillance do you employ? Share tips and get advice from peers on our social networks – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

For quality security camera systems, installation, programming, and support, choose SecurityCamExpert.com. Visit us online or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294.

Valentine’s Day Fun Facts

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the stress may be setting in for the procrastinators out there. To lighten the mood, we’ve decided to share ten fun facts about the love-filled holiday.

1.    In 1537, England’s King Henry VII officially declared Feb. 14 the holiday of St. Valentine’s Day.

2.    In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”

3.    The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine’s Day.

4.    The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

5.    Each year, over 50 million roses are given for Valentine’s Day worldwide.

6.    In order of popularity, Valentine’s Day cards are given to teachers, children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets.

7.    220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day each year.

8.    Richard Cadbury created the first Valentine’s Day candy box in the 1800s.

9.    About 8 billion candy hearts will be produced this year; that’s enough candy to stretch from Rome, Italy to Valentine, Arizona 20 times and back again.

10.    Over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day in the U.S.

Bonus Fact: Were having a sale! Starting on Monday, February 9, 2015 until Valentine’s Day, when you spend $300 or more at SecurityCamExpert.com, you’ll receive a complimentary box of chocolates. Consider it our way of showing our adoration for you; a little Valentine’s Day gift from us to you.

This offer applies to both phone orders and online orders, however, you must mention the promotion when ordering. For online orders, please use the Order Comments box to note the promotion. This offer applies to website pricing only, and orders of at least $300 or more. This offer may not be combined with other offers; limit one per customer. Offer valid February 9-14, 2015.

Which facts were surprising to you? Do you have any facts to share? You can reach us on our social networks  – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. And be sure to act fast – our special offer ends on Valentine’s Day!

Security Cameras in Hospitals

Hospitals are often associated with recovery from illnesses. Patients are vulnerable because they are usually in a weakened state. It seems almost absurd that these facilities for healing would ever be targeted, but sadly they are. Every so often you may hear a story of an attempted kidnapping of newborns, stolen laptops containing sensitive information about patients or even shootings within the premises. The fact of the matter is these hospitals need comprehensive security to keep the patients as well as the workers safe.

There are many facets when discussing safety. Visitors must check in to prevent possible trespassers. This, of course, is to keep both staff and patients safe and protect the privacy of health information. We must also keep the patients safe from possible abuse from staff. In the same strain, the staff must be kept safe from aggressive patients who may attack.

Patients can benefit from security cameras because it is not fiscally feasible to have a 1:1 ratio for staff and patients. The security cameras act as an extra pair of eyes. Monitoring the feeds may help find a distressed patient before it’s too late. The cameras may also catch suspicious activity or unwelcome visitors who have somehow bypassed check-in.

The security cameras can improve productivity because employees are aware they are being monitored, and can aid in resolving disputes between coworkers. It can also save employees from false claims, providing clear video evidence of the occurrence.

While they have numerous benefits, security cameras can run the risk of over reliance. Workers may depend on the cameras rather than actively checking on the patients, making them susceptible to a negligence claim. Because the security cameras are obviously being implemented, they may be open to tampering or manipulation. As with any type of monitoring, privacy issues arise. So long as the cameras comply with legal standards, they can be utilized ethically and efficiently.

Placement of security cameras in the hospital setting can make or break the security system’s effectiveness. Security cameras should be installed both inside and outside of the building. Both public and restricted access entrances/exits should also be under supervision. Because of the possible dangers, stairwells and elevators should also be monitored.  Security cameras in the hallways will prove helpful as most traffic occurs there. Lastly, installing cameras in parking lots and loading areas will help catch any suspicious activity outside.

The benefits of security cameras in hospitals can outweigh the disadvantages if utilized properly. Feel free to browse our selection of security cameras at SecurityCamExpert or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294.

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