Who's allowed to watch my building's security camera footage?
By Leigh Kamping-Carder |June 9, 2014 - 2:30PM
Q. My co-op building has security cameras in the lobby. I understand that they're a safety measure, but I'm wary of the board president or my neighbors being able to watch my comings and goings. Who typically has access to the footage? Could they watch it any time or just when there's been an incident?
But lobbies aren't living rooms: you can expect the same kind of privacy as you would in any public space. Boards are allowed to place cameras in any common area, so long as they can’t “see” into private apartments, experts say.
“There is a fairly clear privacy line at the apartment's front door,” Roberts says.
To address privacy concerns and to protect board members, Roberts advises limiting access to the security company and necessary employees of building management—or designated members of a board security committee if necessary—and writing down a protocol for who can view the tapes and when. This is especially important because the footage could wind up as evidence in a legal proceeding.
“Most boards understand the reason for this and agree with it,” Roberts says. “As part of that policy, video information is not released [to] any outside party absent either a clear legal right or a court subpoena.”
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