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The Legality of Posting Surveillance Video to Shame Your Neighbor

Sometimes, when your neighbor throws a bag full of dog crap into your bushes every single day while walking his dog, you need to fight back. Here is what one guy did:

As discussed in The New York Times last month, the man who made the video above is Steve Miller of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The Times says that in so doing, Miller

joined the ranks of outraged homeowners who are recording their neighbors’ misdeeds. Attracted by the declining prices and technological advances of such devices, these homeowners are posting the videos online to shame their neighbors or using them as evidence to press charges.

Yesterday, Tara Krieger of the Legal As She is Spoke blog posted on the legality of posting such videos, identifying two key issues:

(1) Under what circumstances may private citizens set up hidden cameras?; and

(2) Can private citizens then upload unauthorized footage of others to the Internet?

Surveillance Looking at Miller's situation, Krieger writes that for private citizens, the First Amendment often protects this type of freedom of expression. In addition, Florida is not among those states that have enacted statutes banning the use of surveillance cameras in “private places” where one would have a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and a public sidewalk probably would not fit that definition, anyway. In short, Krieger says, Miller "can rest assured that in taking pains to film and show what was on his own property, his revenge against the poop dropper was legal."


Posted by Bruce Carton on December 3, 2010 at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


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