Before buying a security camera, ask yourself:
- Where do you want to place it?
- How well-hidden can it be or does it need to be?
- Are you familiar with laws pertaining to filming people with or without their knowledge?
Where is setting up the camera illegal? Bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms and residences other than yours (unless you have that other individual’s permission to set it up for their use).
Assume this list is not complete; the bottom line is that video surveillance is prohibited where anyone could be naked or even partially nude. There may be some gray areas, however. In that case, consult with an attorney.
A gray area would be some kind of private room where a person might be undressing, such as a dressing room for a theatre production, a cabana at a country club or beach, or a mock dressing room for a model posing for an oil painting class.
What if you want to set up a camera in the locker room, dressing room or bathroom of a business you own—not to be nosy, but to catch any thieves or other criminal behavior?
Sorry, it’s against the law. The propensity to be partially naked wins out over the possibility of someone stuffing unpaid-for items in their pants or sexually assaulting someone in a bathroom stall.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t place cameras outside the targeted room, to capture entrances and exits on a timeline. Set the camera up so that it can’t capture activity inside the room when the door opens.
- The general rule is that if a scene is viewable to the public, your camera can be stationed to record it, such as the parking lot smack in front of your front door or the neighbor’s outdoor deck across the parking lot (where it’s not expected anyone will undress).
- Though it’s legal to point a camera at the neighbors, it can incite them and cause you grief, including legal action against you (people can sue for anything and everything; doesn’t mean they’ll win, but the anticipated defense legal fees and the whole headache of being taken to court often convince the defendant to retract the behavior that triggered the lawsuit).
- This is NOT legal advice. Consult your attorney and local laws.