Home > Blog > Home Automation > What to Consider Before Installing a Security Camera

What to Consider Before Installing a Security Camera

Posted: October 21, 2016

For families that appreciate today’s smart home features, security cameras can seem like a no-brainer. After all, security cameras can help identify would-be intruders at your door, give you peace of mind when a babysitter is watching your kids and help you keep an eye on pets while you're away from home.

But not so fast — there are a number of things you'll want to consider so you can ensure your video cameras follow the rules.

Behind the Lens

behind the lens

Capturing video is not allowed in areas that are considered private. This includes any room where someone might change or remove their clothing, but may include other areas as well. This also includes the homes of others. A good rule of thumb is if you suspect your filming violates someone’s privacy in any way, you may want to check with an attorney to confirm you are in the clear.

  • Although you’re not allowed to film private in spaces, it is perfectly acceptable — and smart — to film the entrance to these areas. Consider positioning a camera close to the door to a bathroom for example, but do not position it so that video allows you to see inside.
  • It’s usually legal to position a camera toward a neighbor’s property if it is located on your property and the areas being filmed are viewable to the public. However, keep in mind that most neighbors aren’t particularly fond of this tactic, so before positioning a camera toward a neighbor’s home, ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.

Listen and Learn

listen and learn

It is illegal to record eavesdropped conversations or conversations captured with a remote device. Federal law and laws in most states require “one-party consent,” meaning that only one participant in the conversation needs to be aware of the recording and does not have to notify others. However, some states require “two- party consent” which means that every participant in the conversation must be aware and consent to the recording. Because of varying and sometimes restrictive audio recording laws, most ADT-monitored home security video cameras do not also record audio.

  • Since informing people that they may be recorded usually puts you on solid legal ground, many businesses have blanket statements that calls may be recorded. If a statement of recording has been made, most recording is legit — with the exception of private information such as medical information.
  • You are allowed to record police, but there are a few caveats to be aware of. If officers ask you to discontinue recording, you are not required to do so unless your recording interferes with an investigation. Also, should police ask for your recording as evidence, you are not required to provide it unless they have a warrant.

Please be aware that while Protect Your Home has summarized these considerations, no information included in this post should be considered legal advice. Laws vary by state and locality, and even vary between businesses and residences. Before you activate your camera and declare “Action,” make sure you are completely informed. Please consult an attorney and/or local authorities to confirm current applicable laws in your area.