CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Is that spy camera monitoring the scene or invading your privacy?

Dec 14, 2023, 7:00 PM

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND - AUGUST 28: A doorbell device with a built-in camera made by home security company Ring is seen on August 28, 2019 in Silver Spring, Maryland. These devices allow users to see video footage of who is at their front door when the bell is pressed or when motion activates the camera. According to reports, Ring has made video-sharing partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them access to camera footage with the homeowners’ permission in what the company calls the nation’s 'new neighborhood watch.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Where does the reach of a spy camera end and a person’s privacy begin? An expert joins the discussion about when cameras are monitoring vs. snooping.

Two years ago, a former underage Brazilian student, who was staying with Darrel Wells of West Virginia, discovered the towel hook in her private bathroom was actually a spy camera.

She sued Amazon for selling the man the Mini Spy Camera Clothes Hook.

The online retail giant continues to sell identical spy cameras.

Amazon hoped the court would dismiss the suit, arguing that the platform wasn’t responsible for the alleged criminal conduct harming the minor. But after nearly eight months of deliberating, a judge largely denied the tech giant’s motion to dismiss, reports Ars Technica.

KSL legal analyst Greg Skordas told Dave and Dujanovic what your rights are if you find a secret spy camera while staying in a guest house, a hotel room or dressing room or public restroom.

What is the expectation of privacy?

Skordas said the discussion is all about the location of the camera and the expectation of privacy.

“If you’re in a kitchen and you’re sitting around a table, you don’t expect that what you’re saying is private because there are other people there. They’re hearing it.”

But, he added, “In the privacy of your bathroom, certainly the shower, even the bedroom, you would expect that you are, that what you’re doing there is private and that other people are not watching it,” he said.

Skordas said the expectation of privacy is changing from what it had been before the omnipresence of cameras today — at least in public areas.

“We’re all carrying cameras now with us, 24/7… So what we expected to be private, back in the day, even maybe 20 years ago, is not the case anymore,” Skordas said. “People have dash cameras on their personal vehicles. They have phone cameras that they use all the time. Police are recording virtually everything that they do, and our intersections and some of our parking lots have cameras.”

But, Skordas said, the expectation of privacy in bedrooms and bathrooms or restrooms will likely remain intact. 

Is it legal to secretly record a babysitter in the house?

Nanny cams are considered security cameras, They are installed in homes to surreptitiously monitor the babysitter while the home occupant is away. They may be hidden in lamps or on shelves disguised as books, etc.

But is that legal?

It is legal in all 50 states to make a video recording of anything occurring in one’s home, at any time, without the consent of the person who is being recorded.”

According to LegalMatch

Related: Privacy concerns persist in transgender sports case after Utah judge seals only some health records 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Is that spy camera monitoring the scene or invading your privacy?