Q: I live in a condo, and I have a neighbor whose front door directly faces mine. He has installed a video surveillance system on his door, and it records every time I open the door. I have asked him to take it down because it makes me extremely uncomfortable. He refused. I feel a loss of privacy, and I feel violated. Is this legal? -- Adrienne
A: It is estimated that the average American is caught on camera more than 75 times each day. We are all recorded more than we realize, and while sometimes it makes us feel safer, other times it makes us uncomfortable, or worse, violated.
For better or worse, being recorded is now a fact of life. Our society and legal system have been playing catch-up with this growing trend to regulate the use of cameras and punish people who abuse the technology.
Unless he is misusing the video recorded, such as posting it on the internet, there is probably not much that can be done.
Property owners have the right to place cameras in and around their home for security reasons. The camera should either be easily noticeable, or there should be a posted sign warning visitors that they are being recorded. The camera should not be used to record neighbors or anyone where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in their house, a public restroom, changing room or any place where that person would expect that no one is looking at them without their permission or knowledge.
If someone does record you without your knowledge and permission when you are somewhere that should be private, the law will look at the intent with which you were recorded. In your example, if your neighbor's door camera was for security and positioned so that it just happened to see inside your home as you entered and left (a time when you would not expect privacy), then it would be OK. But if your neighbor was setting up the cameras to be a high-tech Peeping Tom, he may be committing a crime.
About The Writer
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.
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