Legal issues relating to surveillance cameras

The use of surveillance cameras began as a way for business entities and the government would permanently monitor workplaces, warehouses and security sensitive areas. Advances in camera technology, including devices for analogue and digital recording, the increased use of surveillance cameras in many other areas of everyday life. In the process, legal issues have been raised regarding the use of surveillance cameras and the right to monitor the functions of daily living without being seen, especially when the abuse of surveillance cameras leads to an invasion of privacy.

The right to know

Public spaces that use surveillance cameras usually put signs informing people that they are being observed and recorded. This is considered an unbiased approach to inform the public that any illegal or permitted activity will be captured in a recording. This practice of giving notice of the use of surveillance cameras is voluntarily followed by most institutions of public and private security, and in many countries it is mandatory. Canada is one of the countries that has taken on this legislation, which is part of the Electronic Documents Act and Personal Information Protection.

The duty holder protection

One of the legal issues relating to surveillance cameras refers to the owner of a business obligation to provide an adequate level of security to their customers. The property management companies that oversee residential complexes have a role in ensuring the safety of their tenants against illegal activity and personal injury. Regardless of personal opinion of any tenant of their right to privacy, surveillance cameras are seen by most as a necessary and reasonable to ensure the safety of all tenants of the building method.

Surveillance in schools

Perhaps one of the most controversial legal issues has been the use of surveillance cameras in schools. The use of security cameras is the result of an increased level of illegal and sometimes violent activities that have affected many schools, especially in big cities. A Tennessee case involving a middle school installing surveillance cameras in the locker legal problems generated when stored videos were made accessible via the Internet. The State Supreme Court ruled that the use of surveillance cameras inherently violate students’ right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Video silent watch

Title I of the U.S. Code 18 Section 2510 of the Privacy Act 1986 and Electronic Communications states that video surveillance cameras can be used to watch and record citizens without their knowledge or consent, provided it does not register any sound. While proponents of the Fourth Amendment have argued that this violates the right to privacy, the code has been used by many government entities in this sense without legal redress. This function is widely applied from 2010 to watch and record public roads and streets.

Protective of potentially dangerous places

Surveillance cameras are used to prevent access to certain sensitive areas that represent a potential danger for the population. Hospitals and scientific laboratories often contain chemicals and substances that can be lethal if they are exposed to the public. In these cases, the use of surveillance is not considered as invasion of privacy because of the obvious need to watch the workers when they access these sensitive areas.