Security Camera Laws in New York: Frequently Asked Questions

Are you considering installing cameras in New York? Well, then you should take a moment to review the security camera laws in New York. Known for its iconic city and world-famous monuments, the Big Apple is a state that needs no introduction. Unfortunately, New York also has security challenges that residents have to consider.

Residents in New York State have the right to utilize video surveillance on their property, at work, and in public places. They must, however, take into account the privacy of others when doing so. This article will cover some frequently asked questions regarding the security camera laws in New York.

Security Camera Laws in New York State FAQs:

New York Security Cameras installation

Video surveillance is legal in New York. When used to monitor security, video surveillance systems are allowed in New York State. In addition, a video surveillance system is permissible if its installation is visible. Still, it is good practice to display a notice declaring that the system owner is conducting surveillance.

It is illegal in New York to use any device to record, obtain, share, or use communications, whether wired, oral, or electronic, without the approval of at least one person involved in the conversation. This means that if you are a contributor or have previous authorization from one of the persons involved, you are legally entitled to record a conversation in New York.

2021 Video Surveillance Laws in New York State

On November 8, 2021, New York’s governor signed a bill that amends New York State’s Civil Rights Law to require private employers to notify employees of electronic monitoring and obtain their written acknowledgment of the notice.

New York Audio and Video Penalties

In New York, as with most states, it is best to avoid audio recordings without proper notice or permission. While video surveillance is allowed, most states have more complicated laws when it comes to audio recordings. Illegally recording an in-person, telephone or electronic communication is a felony offense punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Violations of New York’s hidden camera law are also felonies carrying the same potential penalties, with enhanced penalties for those previously convicted within the past 10 years. Id. Felony disclosures under the hidden camera law are punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine, while misdemeanor violations are subject to up to 364 days in prison and a fine of $1,000. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 70.15, 80.05.

New York is a one-party consent state. This means that only one party must consent to the recording of an in-person or telephone conversation. It is an E felony under New York’s wiretapping law to record a conversation without at least one party’s knowledge.

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What are New York’s Workplace Surveillance Laws?

For the most part, video surveillance is legal in the workplace. However, under Section 203-C of the New York Labor Law, employers cannot record video of an employee in a locker room, restroom, or other areas where employees change their clothes. The only exception is if there is a court order allowing videotaping. 

Workplace surveillance regulations in the United States allow cameras to be used only for legitimate business purposes. The video surveillance laws are meant to provide guidance to businesses while simultaneously protecting the rights of employees. Employers are not authorized to utilize video to monitor any union activities, in addition to not being able to use surveillance in private spaces.

Are security cameras allowed in New York City apartments?

Installing a security camera in your New York City apartment is legal. Inside the apartment, any Wi-Fi security camera system that does not require drilling or wiring is allowed in most New York City buildings. In general, tenants are allowed the use of the outside of their buildings and can install cameras as long as the installation doesn’t cause any damage to the building itself.

The security risks faced by apartment property managers and residents differ from those faced by single-family homeowners and tents. For example, in New York City, multi-tenant apartment complexes have a higher likelihood of crime than residential areas. That is why you must choose optimal video surveillance systems that address your security concerns effectively.

How many security cameras are installed in New York City?

While the exact number of security cameras installed in New York City varies, it is well documented that the NYPD operates thousands of security cameras around the city. The NYPD uses its Domain Awareness System (DAS) to perform surveillance across New York City – the system being composed of numerous physical and software components, including over 18,000 CCTV cameras around New York City.

Conclusion

New York is a One-Party Consent State as well as an All-Party Consent State, which means that at least one person or all persons involved in the recorded communication must consent (depending on the ruling legislation). It is illegal in New York to secretly record an oral communication without the approval of at least one party. Fines and civil penalties may be imposed if New York’s video surveillance requirements are not followed.

Before installing or upgrading your security system in New York, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the laws and guidelines on video surveillance. In addition, contacting a licensed security installer for support during the process is always a wise option.

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