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Can a Security Company Provide Public Video Footage?

We recently received a call from an individual who inquired video footage from an outdoor camera from one of our client’s business. Apparently, the person’s company truck had been robbed in front of our clients’ establishment and there was a possibility the crime had been captured by the business’ camera. Although we understood this person’s frustration, we indicated that we could not provide video footage because this would violate our client’s privacy and place their security at risk. On the other hand, we also encouraged the caller to reach out to the building owner that owns the camera and explain the situation. If there was a police report, the building owner can give access to police to view the camera footage. A few days later, the caller wrote a one star review on our company’s Google page. This incident led our attention to the need to inform our clients and the public about security cameras’ privacy; and to find alternatives to what each party can do if they encounter a similar issue.
From our Company
In order to maintain the highest standards of privacy, we follow a procedure to clearly identify our clients before providing any data request. This information includes account number,emergency contacts, and video footage. This procedure is part of our core values on serving with confidence: “For over 10 years VinTech has worked hard to earn our clients’ trust. We’ve established relationships and built confidence for our clients.”
To Our Clients
Most of our clients require video footage when a crime occurs because they want to provide it as evidence to police. Our clients can refer to the instructor’s manual or we can assist them by phone walking them through the process (how to review, download, and store footage). It is only when the time frame when the crime was committed is not known or it is too long that we reserve the right to charge a fee. This fee covers the time that our team has to spend reviewing the footage. For example, if a crime is committed overnight, and our client requests that we review footage from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., we charge for the time we spend reviewing the video. If you live in the Chicago area, you can connect your privately own cameras to the city’s network. You can find more information by visiting the City of Chicago website and searching for the Private Sector Camera Initiative. In this case, the police would be able to access footage right away if needed. A person who privately owns a camera system, reserves the right not to provide footage from their camera unless presented with an official request by the authorities.
To the Public
If you are a victim of a property crime and believe that a public camera system could have captured it, contact the police to make a report. Once the report has been made, police can access the city’s camera system or can request footage from a privately own camera. Have in mind that video footage is usually stored from 14 to 30 days depending on the type of camera storage. Write down the day and approximate time when you believe the crime occurred. Narrow the time as much as possible as this will make the process faster and easier for those who are trying to help you. When an incident like this happens, victims are often frustrated and desire for matters to be solved quickly. In this case, it is important not to forget that these people are doing you a favor and you should demonstrate that you acknowledge this throughout the process.
To better understand the Illinois laws about public privacy go here.
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