We are in Alabama.  We have a customer who wants his CCTV cameras directed into the next-door neighbor’s yard.  I feel it is wrong ethically but would this constitute criminal surveillance?





    I have a client in Brooklyn who is having personal belongings stolen in a locker room. Is it legal to record video in there only capturing from the chest up or is there other guidelines I should follow.  This is a warehouse that has a locker room for the employees which are all male. The owner of the business wants the cameras installed.





    If your subscriber wants outdoor cameras to view his yard there is nothing wrong with some spill over into public sidewalks, streets and even adjoining neighbors' yards.  There are of course some common sense guidelines you need to be aware of, and you can convey these to the subscriber.  When it comes to positioning the cameras the focus should be on the subscriber's property, not the neighbor's property, and the camera should never be viewing any area in the neighbor's property that common sense tells you is an area where the neighbor reasonably expects privacy.  So what is a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to video surveillance?  And, it's different than audio.  

    A person on public property, a sidewalk, street or public land, should have no reasonable expectation of privacy.  A person on his own property which is easily viewed from the street or neighboring property, has no reasonable expectation of privacy.  If your neighbor erects a fence or installs shrubbery and installs a sun deck or hot tub, even a pool, there may be a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Positioning your camera to view that area as the primary surveillance, would be wrong.  

    Incidentally, even permissible video can become unlawful if the video is used for purposes that violate criminal laws or civil rights laws.  These would include using a person's likeness for commercial purposes without consent, improper purposes, like blackmail, or in some jurisdictions merely publishing [and by this I mean circulating or showing it to others] the video without consent.

    Just a word on audio.  Mechanical interception or recording of audio is wrong, no matter where it is, unless you have the requisite consent.  see here for state laws:  https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/page/alarm-law-issues

    The locker room is a really tricky issue.  Privacy is expected in bathrooms and places where people typically are undressed.  Covert cameras in a locker room, especially if those videos are circulated, is going to be a problem - for the user and possibly the installer.  Can you minimize the risk of civil or criminal action - yes I suppose.  You could install highly visible cameras and signs; you could position the cameras well above waist level.  You can get consent in writing from everyone entering the locker room to the video surveillance.  Most importantly, you can restrict access to the video and make sure its used for no other purpose than delivery to the police in the event illegality is captured on video.  I am trying to reach a conclusion that lets you do this job, but honestly, I think I'd pass.