It’s becoming increasingly common for homeowners to invest in security cameras, but there are also privacy laws that limit where all those cameras can be pointed. If you’re looking to install security cameras in and around the perimeter of your home, you’ll need to consider those laws as much as your own security, so let’s explore some of the legal implications of using a home security camera so you know your rights when neighbors come knocking on your door.
Home security cameras are increasing, along with privacy concerns
While home security systems are growing in popularity, so are privacy concerns. If your neighbor has security cameras installed and they’re pointing in your direction, you’d be a little concerned too, right?
Some landlords have even come under fire for invading tenant privacy. Over in the UK, one judge even ruled in favor of a tenant who felt her landlord’s cameras amounted to harassment.
To be clear, landlords do have the right to install cameras outdoors. Still, they could be violating your state’s wiretapping laws, so it’s worth researching to see where your state stands.
How to use your security camera within the law
The bottom line is that you have the right to install surveillance cameras around your home, as long as they’re not recording in areas with a reasonable expectation of privacy. In that case, you’d need written consent to film anyone.
There are no federal laws in place that restrict the use of home security cameras, so it’s crucial to review your state regulations before installing them. Each state has its own set of laws and regulations concerning citizen privacy.
However, generally speaking, you also can’t place any security cameras in locations that capture private areas of someone else’s property. For example, you could be held liable if your cameras point in the direction of a neighbor’s bedroom window.
What about pet cameras?
There aren’t laws regarding pet cameras, but if you’re a renter you should ask your landlord about mounting any. Landlords have certain leasing rights according to the law, and if your apartment is privately owned and pets are negotiable, those cameras may be a necessary part of the lease.
And if you install any pet cameras, place them in an appropriate location in your home, same as you would your regular security cameras (that is, not facing anywhere that people might reasonably expect privacy). If you have a pet sitter, make sure to get their consent to record.
How to safely install security cameras
You’ll want to spend time researching which cameras will best suit your needs, or install some old technology you have in place of pricey gadgets. Next, plan out where you want to place your cameras by finding ideal spots outside your home, like near your garage, on your porch, and by your backdoor or patio. Once all of the hardware is set up, take some time to play around with the system, whether that’s moving cameras or adjusting the motion-detecting settings. You’ll likely need to install software onto your device to manage your fancy new cameras.