Almost every store that you visit uses hidden camera technology in order to protect their merchandise, and it is also common to run into surveillance equipment at ATMs and banks. Additionally, there are some areas that have cameras in place to help local law enforcement officials monitor traffic violations such as running a red light, and it is now common for police cars to have cameras installed on the dashboard. It is understandable how someone can become uneasy when you consider how many different times a day you are probably being recorded. However, many people believe that the protection that these cameras provide is worth having their privacy invaded.
How Does Hidden Camera Technology Impact our Rights?
Although most people have gotten used to the idea that they will encounter hidden cameras throughout the day, this does not mean that each of them has been installed in accordance with the law. In fact, each state has its own guidelines about how hidden surveillance cameras can be used.
For example, it is illegal in 13 states to put a camera in an area where people should be able to expect privacy, including restrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms, hotel rooms, and bedrooms. Unfortunately, this means that 37 states do not have a law that expressly forbids an individual or business from videotaping you while you are in a vulnerable position such as taking a shower.
However, it is still possible that you could win a lawsuit based on this issue if someone obtains personal footage of you, especially if they use it to blackmail you.
Are Police Dash Cameras Beneficial?
Even if you do not like the idea of a police officer recording your traffic stop, it can actually be very helpful. For example, New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty was arrested for a DWI in August 2012, but the case was dismissed after the dash camera’s footage was reviewed.
There have also been other DWI cases that have been thrown out by the court system after it was revealed that the arresting officer failed to turn on the dash camera. Therefore, if you are ever arrested for a DWI or any other traffic violation, your attorney could use the police car’s dash camera footage to help you prove that you were not actually doing anything wrong.
Cameras are also useful for investigating accidents. When it becomes a messy “He said, she said” situation between the parties involved, having the accident captured on tape can do wonders when and if the case goes to trial. If you do need to go to trial, make sure you have the help of a legal professional on board who will know what is admissible in court and who will help you build a viable defense. Fortunately, these cameras can actually provide enough evidence to get acquitted. Always request a copy of the footage.
Do Surveillance Cameras Reduce Crime Rates?
Remember George Orwell’s 1984, a book about the misery of a futurisic life under constant government surveillance and control? We’re on our way- closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are extremely common in the U.K., and many U.S. cities have begun using them. However, the results of these cameras have been very inconclusive.
For example, a crime-ridden neighborhood in New York City experienced a 30 percent reduction in crime after several CCTV cameras were installed, but the area also received an increased number of police officers at the same time. Therefore, it is impossible to know whether or not the cameras actually had a positive impact.
Freelance author Molly Pearce often writes on the topics of law, finance, and human rights. She looks to extensive online research and expert legal references to complete her articles and makes artwork addressing similar thought-provoking topics in her spare time.