Security Cameras

Surveillance Camera Privacy Issues: Hackers, Neighbor’s Camera Aimed At Your House, & More

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Creep's eye (Caption: Are Security Cameras An Invasion Of Privacy?)Is your neighbor’s security camera aimed at your house and you’re wondering if this is legal? Or do you operate a vacation rental and would like to install some cameras for security purposes.

Increasingly, security cameras are an integral part of security systems, but there’s a fine line between monitoring your home or business for safety and invading someone’s privacy. If you have cameras, you need to make sure you’re not violating others and also protecting yourself from privacy invasion.

Article Overview

Security vs Privacy

When you’re walking down the street, there’s a chance a security camera will record you. You could consider this an invasion of privacy because if someone wanted to track you and had access to the camera footage, they could. They might even see who you’re with and what you’re doing.

However, another side of this argument is that if something happened to you in public, like a robbery or attack, that same footage could help you. The recorded video could determine who it was that hurt you and where the person went after the event. In this case, it’s essential to consider whether the security benefits of cameras outweigh the privacy invasion, and that’s a personal decision.

Camera Privacy Issues

Here are some common privacy issues and concerns for you to consider based on type of equipment and location.

CCTV Privacy Issues

Closed-circuit television, or camera privacy laws.

Home Security Camera Privacy Issues

Home security cameras are often outside and inside of homes for security. Some people use hidden cameras to keep an eye on babysitters or pet sitters when they’re away. Again, it’s a privacy concern if you don’t know someone is recording you and you disclose personal information or private details of your life.

Surveillance Camera Privacy Issues

Surveillance cameras are often a part of community security. These cameras observe public areas that law enforcement or security guards are monitoring. There’s a risk of privacy invasion because there’s the potential that someone could track your location and movement.

Should I Worry About My Camera Getting Hacked?

Keep in mind that anything that’s connected to WiFi can ultimately be hacked. Think about the direction your camera is pointing toward and what a hacker could be seeing.

If your cameras have pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities, this can complicate things a little more because a hacker could adjust the camera positioning. Additionally, WiFi cameras with two-way audio can allow hackers to listen in and speak to those who are in the room.

This is why we don’t recommend using WiFi-enabled cameras in children’s rooms.

Person hacking into security camera on laptop (Can Home Security Cameras Be Hacked?)While WiFi cameras are ubiquitous and convenient because they can be viewed remotely via smartphones, tablets, and web browsers, we do urge you to think twice about where you position these around your home.

Think about what you really need your cameras for. You could get in the habit of unplugging them when you’re home, etc. and only leaving them on when you’re away from home and want to keep an eye on things. For the full scoop on risks of security camera hacking, including brand names that don’t have the best track record, we invite you to check out our article on security camera hacking.

Security Doesn’t Start With Your Camera

Phone with VPN on screen (caption: Guide to VPNs: virtual private networks)It’s also important to realize that security leaks don’t start with your cameras. Learn how to protect your WiFi, choose a secure router (we like the Eero because, in addition to offering great speeds, it lets you easily lock your system down to only accept devices you recognize). Lastly, for the ultimate security layer, consider installing a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which will anonymize your location and encrypt any data in transit.

Security Camera Privacy Laws

Row of beach homes (caption: Best Vacation Home Security Cameras)Every state has different laws regarding privacy, so be sure to verify what they are where you live. You may also find that rules can vary based on the type of a security camera, like CCTV cameras vs home security cameras, so you’ll need to be specific when researching how the law applies to you.

In general, you can record video and audio anywhere EXCEPT where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. These places include bathrooms, bedrooms, dressing rooms, hotel rooms, locker rooms, etc. You can still place cameras in private areas in some places, but you have to post a notification or get explicit permission.

Rules are stricter regarding vacation rentals and security cameras. It’s illegal to place a camera inside a home you are renting out. However, you may place them around the outside for security purposes. Our experts have written an article reviewing the top security cameras they recommend for your vacation home.

You may also be wondering how the law protects you from your neighbor’s security cameras. Neighbors can point their cameras at your home but not directly into your home, where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Ring Doorbell Cameras And Privacy Concerns

This four-minute video by CBS news talks about Ring’s connection to law enforcement agencies through the police portal and how that may affect your privacy. Citizens raise concerns over Ring, which is owned by Amazon, having access to footage through their neighborhood program.

Our Experts Review Ring Doorbell Cameras

How Do I Protect My Identity?

A pile of credit cards covered by a combination lock (Caption: The Ultimate Guide To Identity Theft)At this point you might be more concerned with your privacy than when you started reading this article. We don’t blame you! In today’s digitally interconnected society, there are many potential areas for your personal information to be compromised.

The good news is that protecting it is easier than you might think. Our experts have put together a comprehensive guide on identity theft, with advice to help you get informed and make the right decisions to protect your identity, data, and privacy.

Julie Fritz

Julie has been writing professionally since 2012. She is an active volunteer for a local arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Everytown does comprehensive research on gun violence and makes recommendations on how we can all make our communities safer. Her involvement with this organization has given her invaluable information about how to keep our kids safe. She enjoys writing not only about gun safety, but from family-related content to informative articles about technology, events and healthcare. In her free time, you might find her hiking, trail running, biking or swimming. You might also find her in the kitchen where she loves to cook and bake.

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