Security Cameras in Restrooms?

We’re shocked to read that many schools in the UK have installed security cameras in the restrooms and changing rooms- actually 825 cameras across 207 schools to be exact.

Although the head master assures parents and students that the cameras are strictly there for their safety, and that they record only in communal areas, it makes us wonder where the line must be drawn for privacy?

“Cameras in bathrooms are typically prohibited. Whether you can position the camera to hit an area where there might be less expectation of privacy – a sink, an exit door- it is more than likely that the real issue is going to be misuse of video data. Even a camera that is placed in a lawful place for proper purposes, may pick up conduct that would be considered embarrassing or intended to be private, even though in a public place. The misuse of that data could be actionable. Some states do not permit taking a video image of another without consent. Misuse of that data will invite a lawsuit.” Ken Kirschenbaum, Attorney at Law in NY

In the US, laws do exist regarding “Invasion of Privacy” which deals with the area of expected privacy. These include areas such as bathrooms, locker rooms, changing/dressing rooms, bedrooms and other areas where a person should expect a high level of personal privacy.

If the camera is hidden, the laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places.

In Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Utah, installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without permission of the people photographed or observed is against the law. A private place is one where a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance.

In most of these states, unauthorized installation or use of hidden cameras is a felony, punishable by a 2000.00 fine and up to 2 years in prison.

Several states have laws prohibiting the use of hidden cameras in only certain circumstances, such as in locker rooms or restrooms, or for the purpose of viewing a person in a state of partial or full nudity.

Finding a knowledgeable security company that respects these laws is so important because you run the risk of getting lawsuits if you put cameras in the wrong place. As a security company, we understand the reasons for CCTV, as bullying can take place in these key areas, but our concern is the footage being used for the rights reasons.

Let us know! How do you feel about this issue, especially if you were a parent with a child at one of these schools?