The Great Debate: Security vs. Privacy

BY placing surveillance cameras in commonplace areas and installing credit score-card-kind computer-aided entry systems, landlords and co-op and rental boards can determine now not most effective who is in a building and in which however can preserve data of whenever a person enters or leaves a constructing or even an apartment.

But while do such systems emerge as an invasion of privacy? And can residents do some thing to limit the statistics an owner can gather?

“We are in desperate need of prison protections that adjust the use and capability abuse of private information,” stated Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Unfortunately, that is an instance of wherein law is way at the back of generation.”

Ms. Lieberman said that few laws, and hardly any court docket cases, exist that address how lots records approximately residents a property owner can collect in the name of improving safety. “As a legal matter, that is a nuts-and-bolts landlord-tenant trouble,” she said. “And finally, it will be litigated.”

Mark Lampe, director of advertising and marketing for Integral Technologies, an Indianapolis-primarily based manufacturer of video and get admission to control systems, said that once surveillance cameras are included with laptop-aided get admission to manage structures, it’s miles possible to identify whose card is being used to open a door, and then back up that statistics with a video image of the character without a doubt the usage of the cardboard.

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That way that a resident who must use a key card to enter a constructing may be having his image taken by way of a digicam within the foyer. And a resident who wishes a key card to go into her rental will be having her photograph taken by using a digital camera within the hall.

“As producers, we can not dictate how our gadget is being used,” Mr. Lampe stated. “We go away that to the legal professionals.”

Daniel Curtin, a Manhattan actual estate attorney, said that landlords ought to use the data they collect to prove that hire-regulated tenants aren’t using an condo as a number one residence, as the tenants are required to do, or that tenants are subletting with out permission.

Even greater disconcerting for some is the truth that statistics about an character’s comings and goings (and whom they were with) can likely be subpoenaed as proof in crook or civil proceedings.

Mr. Curtin said that while it is properly set up that cameras are allowed in public locations like hallways, lobbies and laundry rooms, it might be possible for a tenant to make a case that a selected surveillance machine constitutes harassment. “If you have got a camera on every ground, no one goes to be barking about that,” he stated. “But if you happen to have cameras handiest on flooring where you have regulated tenants, that would represent harassment.”

Steven Sidrane, a actual property lawyer in Hewlett, on Long Island, said he has received calls from tenants required to offer landlords precise personal facts, which include copies in their driver’s licenses, to get key cards for brand spanking new protection structures. “Clearly a landlord is entitled to difficulty keys best to tenants who can become aware of themselves,” Mr. Sidrane said. “But to require a tenant to offer a copy of a photograph I.D. Is going a touch too a long way.”

He stated that at the same time as it’s miles unsure how courts will react, tenants, with the aid of claiming that landlords’ actions violate their rentals, would possibly restrict the statistics landlords can gather.

“The rent laws limit a landlord from changing the terms and conditions of a hire,” he stated. “I suppose that below the hire laws, a person can argue that collecting needless private records, and subjecting them to consistent surveillance, is a change within the terms of the tenancy.”

But excessive-tech surveillance systems do beautify security — a key trouble inside the publish-9/11 era. “Where is the line among better security and invasion of privateness?” he stated. “I do not suppose every body truely knows.”

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