Are you considering installing cameras in New York? 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.
Everything About Security Camera Laws in New York State
In New York, surveillance cameras are generally legal if used for legitimate purposes without violating privacy. However, there are essential restrictions for homeowners in residential areas.
Key Restrictions on Residential Surveillance Cameras in New York:
- Camera Placement: Homeowners should avoid cameras in private areas like bedrooms or bathrooms. Avoid audio recording to comply with wiretapping laws.
- Scope of Surveillance: Ensure cameras only cover your property, not neighboring properties, without consent, especially in densely populated areas.
The use of residential surveillance cameras has sparked debates about privacy concerns. Some argue for enhanced security benefits, while others worry about potential privacy infringements.
- Is it legal to use video surveillance in New York?
- Is New York a One Party Consent State?
- What are New York’s Workplace Surveillance Laws?
- Are security cameras allowed in New York City apartments?
- How many security cameras are installed in New York City?
Is It Legal to Use Video Surveillance in New York?
Video surveillance is legal in New York. Video surveillance systems are allowed in New York State when used to monitor security. In addition, a video surveillance system is permissible if its installation is visible. Still, displaying a notice declaring that the system owner is conducting surveillance is good practice.
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.
Existing 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.
Effective May 7, 2022, this law mandates that all private-sector employers must inform their employees about their electronic monitoring practices upon hiring and display this information conspicuously.
Penalties range from $500 to $3,000 per violation. The first offense incurs a maximum penalty of $500, the second offense $1,000, and any subsequent offenses can result in a $3,000 penalty.
New York Audio & Video Penalties
In New York, as with most states, it is best to only audio recordings with proper notice or permission. While video surveillance is allowed, most states have more complicated audio-recording laws.
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, other crimes not yet included (e.g., sex offender).
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 ten years.
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.
Also read: Security Camera Laws in Arizona
Is New York a One-Party Consent State?
New York is a one-party consent state. This means that only one party must permit recording an in-person or telephone conversation. It is an E felony in the court under New York’s wiretapping law to record a conversation without at least one party’s knowledge.
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 security cameras to be used only for legitimate business purposes at a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Recording or monitoring your employees in locker rooms is strictly prohibited. The video surveillance laws are meant to guide businesses while protecting employees’ rights.
Employers are not authorized to utilize video recording or monitor union activities and cannot 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. In most New York City buildings, any Wi-Fi security camera system that does not require drilling or wiring is allowed inside the apartment.
In general, it is legal for tenants to use the outside of their buildings. They can install cameras as long as the installation doesn’t cause any damage to the building itself, the parties involved are informed, and it is within their reasonable expectation of privacy.
The security risks faced by apartment property managers and residents differ from those faced by single-family homeowners and tents.
Installing cameras dramatically helps in keeping a property or workplace safe from crimes. However, while it is generally allowed to install cameras, including hidden cameras, tenants should have written consent and be fully aware of its intentional use.
For example, multi-tenant apartment complexes have a higher likelihood of crime in New York City than residential areas. That is why you must choose optimal video surveillance systems that address your security concerns effectively.
It is illegal to install any recording device or imaging device or security cameras inside the locker rooms for employees, dressing rooms, neighbor’s backyard, or any location that may violate privacy laws.
How Many Security Cameras are Installed in New York City?
This 2023, there are 70,882 security cameras in the New York City for 300 square miles, or around 236 cameras per square mile. 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 security cameras around New York City.
You can install security cameras in New York but unlawful surveillance is strictly prohibited and may result to Class E Felony.
Based on local law enforcement and Civil law, you cannot install security cameras in a locker room where you can record a person dressing or undressing or any place where privacy can be an issue.
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.
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).
Before installing or upgrading your security system in New York, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the New York’s workplace surveillance laws and guidelines on video surveillance. In addition, contacting a licensed security installer for support during the process is always a wise option.