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Home Surveillance Ethics: Please Mind Your Ps and Qs

Sep 14, 2008
Know Where You Stand

Home surveillance security cameras can record anything you are doing. So how would you feel if your privacy is violated? You would be ready for murder. If the tables were turned, expect a hue and cry from the victim and worse yet, you might find yourself behind bars for a long time.

Just plop small wireless cameras in the bedrooms, bath, and inside teddy bears. There seems nothing out of the ordinary here, unless somebody senses there are home surveillance spy cameras in the john. This is how trouble starts, if you have no idea about the limitations in using spy cameras at home.

Police and military officers are not immune to investigation of their conduct of routine questions recorded by security cameras, especially if there is something fishy about these. A case in point is the questioning of 16 year old Canadian Omar Khadr who was caught in the crossfire in a suspected al-Khaeda camp in Afghanistan.

The point here is - your home surveillance system could be used against you if you are ignorant of the surveillance restrictions in your locality. These tips can get you out of trouble:

* Inform your employees and guests of the presence of surveillance cameras
* Do not install cameras in bathrooms and changing rooms
* Audio recording is banned in most US states
* Your teens can complain about your intrusion into their privacy, better beware
* Knowledge of the law is different from complying with all the requirements for home surveillance.
* Let a lawyer explain the intricacies of surveillance statutes in your state.
* Get the official permission to install secret cameras before anything else.

Extent of Home Surveillance Use

Several homes have extensive surveillance equipment and spy gadgets. Cameras and sound alarms are installed to thwart theft and burglaries. In the US alone, 75% of crime is property theft - and that is looking at billions in properties stolen right in the home. It is reported that one in every six homes is burglarized and these occur at 10 pm to 3 pm. The danger lies with armed burglars ready to kill if cornered.

The usual suspects are young men in the neighborhood and their favorite entry points are the basement, back door, garage, and unlocked entrances. These are the areas for your surveillance cameras and the equipment should be rigged to monitors in the main room or bedroom for ease of monitoring.

A home surveillance system with sound and motion detection sensors is ideal if you want complete home security day and night. As an added security hook your security system to the internet and you can check what is happening at home on your office computer anytime.

Limitations of the Video Security System

To repeat, avoid installing security cameras in the baths of your guestrooms or nanny's room and do not attempt to use electronic eavesdropping devices. An intentional surveillance on subjects is only allowed when a threat to national security is perceived and when you have the permission to use it.

Be smart when you install your home surveillance system.
About the Author
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