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City requests access to camera live feed  
November 2 2022
City requests access to camera live feed
          We have a commercial client who is on a busy intersection. There have been several accidents by their office and the City of Orlando Police has requested footage of the incident from them on several occasions.  Now, they are requesting access to the live video at all times.
  Is this legal?
  Is there liability to the client if they provide it?
  Why in God earth would a municipality even request this?
          Let us know if you need anything further.
 Thank you,
Name withheld
          Sounds like a great question for a law school exam.  On all the TV cop shows I watch they seem to access all the cameras they want whenever they want.  I suppose not all law enforcement has the same technological expertise as the TV counterparts. 
          Let’s strip away the layers of this onion.  As you present the issue it’s your subscriber’s issue, not yours.  The cameras are the property of your subscriber, installed on your subscriber’s premises, and your subscriber has access to the data, recorded and live.  The decision to share the access is your subscriber’s decision.  There is nothing in your Commercial All in One that would prohibit your subscriber permitting access to the data by law enforcement. 
          Ordinarily law enforcement would seek a warrant to obtain video data, and it would seek that data from whoever controlled the data.  Keep in mind that if the video feed, data, is maintained at the central station then the Commercial All in One specifies that the data is owned by the central station.  Both the subscriber and dealer likely have access to the data and they could use their log in credentials to permit access by law enforcement, by consent or in compliance with a warrant. 
          Sharing recorded data, video or audio, or alarm history for that matter, is optional if the request is informal. If the request is in the form of a search warrant, court order or subpoena then compliance is no longer optional, you need to comply. 
          What’s interesting about your inquiry [which really is you inquiring on behalf of your subscriber – who would have to pay for this advice] is that law enforcement requests a permanent live feed access.  What’s most interesting is what new duty or obligation is your subscriber accepting by agreeing to the permanent live feed access?  In other words, does your subscriber have to keep the cameras working and recording?  What happens if the cameras fall into disrepair or your subscriber stops paying you for video monitoring services and you terminate the service?  Do you now have to let law enforcement know that their favorite and most productive camera system has been shut down?  Would you face any liability if the cameras did shut down, through neglect or perhaps intentionally? 
          The subscriber would be wise to detail and confirm its arrangement with law enforcement, in writing.  Since it’s a matter of negotiation your subscriber could suggest that law enforcement pay for the video surveillance.
          One issue you may have is how does this affect you?  Well if you worry about your subscriber suing you for breach of contract or negligence now you have a third party that you know is involved and relying on the cameras.  Hopefully the subscriber has signed your Commercial All in One, unaltered, containing the indemnity provision.  If either law enforcement or any other third party, like an injured member of the public, make a claim against you your subscriber will be required to provide defense and indemnity.  Just be careful because a claim could well exceed your subscriber’s insurance coverage and capacity to satisfy the claim, leaving you exposed.  But overall your Commercial All in One should provide the necessary and appropriate protection it’s intended and designed to provide, even in this scenario.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301