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The Law of Decoy Cameras in Restrooms

Via the Legal As She Spoke blog, I see that patrons of the bathroom in the Circle K convenience store in Yuba County, Calif., are not happy about a surveillance camera aimed straight at the toilet area.

Customers such as Robert Donaldson told CBS13 that they were shocked to emerge from the stall to see an electronic eye pointed right at them. Donaldson fears he will end up seeing his trip to the bathroom on YouTube someday. Circle K, however, says the camera is merely a decoy intended to curtail vandlism, and that it doesn’t record anything.

Is the camera violating privacy laws? According to Legal As She Spoke, if the camera was found to be "operable" while patrons used the restroom, this would constitute a crime under California law.  LASS adds that

the requisite intrusion could be found through the mere existence of the camera in the restroom if the camera had the capability of recording customers. The camera does not necessarily have to be functional or even plugged in. All the would-be plaintiffs have to prove is that it was possible for store employees to render the camera functional, thereby invading the privacy of anyone who used the restroom.

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 28, 2011 at 05:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)


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