What Can I Do If My Neighbor Is Recording Me?
There is nothing worse than if you feel uncomfortable on your own property, but that is exactly what can happen if a neighbor’s security camera is pointed at your property. Installing security equipment for a security purpose is legal, but when a hidden IP camera or wireless camera is aimed at your home or bedroom windows it can be very creepy. So what can you do if a neighbor’s cameras are possibly recording you? This article will discuss video surveillance laws and what you should do if a difficult neighbor has a security camera system pointed your way.
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Your Neighbor’s Rights With Hidden Security Cameras
If you feel your privacy rights are being violated you should always feel comfortable calling the local police. But even if you called the police about your concerns about a neighbours CCTV, the reality is they can legally install security cameras on their property. The reason is property owners have every legal right to use surveillance cameras for the purposes of protecting their assets and property. Even if that means the security camera’s field of view at your neighbor’s house is recording your property.
You don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy when walking on the street, and your neighbor’s security camera is likely not capturing anything more than a person walking on your street would be able to see. That means you cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to activities that take place in your front yard.
With all that being said, your neighbor can not point surveillance cameras to record activity inside of your residence. That would be a privacy violation given you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your home. Therefore, if you believe a security camera at your neighbor’s house is pointed at your bathroom, bedroom, or any room inside your home you should contact law enforcement. If you told the police about this they could intervene as your neighbor would be breaking the law.
Reasonable Expectation of Privacy (Your Rights!)
Your annoying neighbor does have the legal right to use video surveillance equipment to safeguard their home, but you also have the right to privacy inside your home. Let’s dig a little deeper into this if you are worried about security cameras aimed at your home.
The topic of a neighbor spying all boils down to one basic thing: expectations. For example, if you are mowing your front yard you are not in a location where there would be an expectation of privacy. Even if your front yard is not a public space. That means you are fair game to your neighbor’s security camera.
However, if you are in your bathroom, bedroom, or living room, you are definitely in a location where there would be an expectation of privacy, making a video or audio recording illegal.
Now here is where things can get a little complicated. Say your neighbor legally set up a security camera, it is aimed in the direction of your home, but you do not have any curtains or blinds on your windows? Then your neighbor legally could record inside your house because it would be the same as if a person walking down your street could see inside your home.
What about if your neighbor’s property has surveillance cameras on them and those cameras are utilizing a zoom feature to get a closer view inside your home? Well then that would not be the same as someone walking by and looking into your home with a naked eye and it would be illegal for my neighbour to use surveillance equipment in that way. Also, please note that police won’t take legal action against your neighbor unless you have some evidence so if you believe your neighbor spying is infringing on your privacy rights it would be a good idea to gather some evidence.
4 Tips If You Are Uncomfortable With Your Neighbor’s Surveillance
If you know that your neighbor can record you in some context but not be violating your privacy rights then here are some helpful tips on approaching them about your concerns.
- Request Neighbor To Reposition Security Cameras: Simply asking your neighbor to reposition any security equipment that could be recording you is a simple way to solve any neighborhood conflict. By doing this, less of your front yard will be in focus but they can still feel safe knowing that their property is safe.
- Ask To Review Your Camera Feeds: If you share your concerns with your neighbor that you believe a hidden camera is recording a private conversation or what you are doing on private property, ask them if you can review the recorded camera feeds. If the video feeds show your neighbour’s property and your property is prominently in focus then you request they modify the camera angles.
- Privacy Masks: One awesome feature most surveillance cameras now offer is something called Privacy Masks. By activating this feature, certain portions of a security camera’s feed will be blacked out. This will allow your neighbor to have maximum security coverage without invading your privacy
- Motion Detection: Most cameras have a feature that turns the camera on only when motion is detected. If you believe your property is on constant watch, simply request that your neighbor change the settings on their surveillance cameras so that they only turn on when motion is detected. This means when your neighbor records the footage it is when there actually might be a crime taking place.
Please contact local police or an attorney who specializes in privacy law if you feel your neighbor is committing a crime by the way they are using a security camera. You should never feel uncomfortable on your own property so it is important to speak with your neighbors first and try to resolve any privacy issues before things get worse.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.