Our condo will soon have five cameras placed strategically throughout our building. We will be able to view various comings and goings, record clips, and playback 1 months’ retro information. We are being very transparent, letting everyone know where the cameras are. A couple of our owners have questioned the “privacy” issue. They would like to know “who would be viewing the images being displayed by the 5 cameras” and does a confidentiality agreement have to be signed by the person (s) who will have access to the playback. What role does “privacy” play in this situation? Thank you, many times, over for the good work and information that you provide for all of us. Louisa
Great question. Privacy has many facets that can affect condo living, and video surveillance is certainly one of them. I will only focus on the specific question of your condo owners today.
Your board is very prudent in being transparent with owners as to the placement of the cameras. It should not only consider the placement, for example, the front entrance but also be aware of the area being covered. A front entrance camera could possibly capture the image of someone walking by on the sidewalk. This could potentially be considered as infringing on someone’s privacy. If cameras are oriented in such a way as to capture images of owners coming in and out of their unit, there could also be concerns.
If the board has not already done so, it should develop a comprehensive policy concerning the use of surveillance cameras outlining the purpose, placement, hours of operation, who has access to the recordings, when will recordings be viewed, how long will recordings be kept, when and how will they be destroyed. In determining when the recordings will be viewed the board should be aware that for privacy purposes, they should only be viewed if there exists a good reason to do so, like a car break-in the parking lot, vandalism at the front door, or graffiti on the building. In other words, there should not be consistent live monitoring which could be considered intrusion upon privacy.
There is no harm in asking the individuals viewing the recordings to sign a confidentiality agreement. However, since the number of people allowed to access the video should be limited, and that this will most likely be members of the board, they are already obligated to keep personal matters confidential. Reviewing recorded images is a serious matter and should not be done for amusement.
As you can see, privacy is a huge issue. If you have any more specific questions, please send them along.