Thanks to modern advancements in surveillance technology, (digital) eyes are virtually everywhere. And it’s a double-edged sword of sorts. Surveillance cameras increasingly track global citizens in the name of public safety, but the technology can be easily misused.
Personal privacy, for example, can be compromised by surveillance tech, which has wide-reaching implications. The threat of COVID-19 has caused companies of various sizes to beef up employee surveillance, to better comply with social distancing mandates. Yet that sort of innocuous data collection may open the door to more intense tracking of employees, where everything from worker productivity to location is constantly monitored.
Security and privacy-related conversations notwithstanding, the ubiquity of surveillance tech in 2020 and beyond means that everyone can access it. Depending on your personal needs, you can use surveillance equipment in your own home, or even take it on the go with a drone or hidden micro camera.
Whether you’re monitoring your personal property, looking to uncover evidence of infidelity, or performing a professional investigation, it’s crucial that you understand the basics of surveillance, especially in regards to the law.
Your Rights Under the Law
When it comes to surveillance and your safety, the first question you should ask is that of legality. Surveillance laws can vary widely between different locations. Further, particular equipment and/or tech may be regulated by a municipality or organization. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), for instance, has issued guidelines so that drone operators can “fly safely in the national airspace.”
While they also have educational and recreational applications, drones are increasingly used in a surveillance capacity. Nearly every country on Earth regulates drones to some degree, but it’s important to note that drone laws are constantly evolving. What’s more, drones are completely prohibited in various international locations, including Cuba and the Bahamas, and altitude limits often apply elsewhere.
Thus, if you plan on surveying anything via drone, make sure to do your research beforehand to avoid headaches and potential hassles. In a similar vein, it’s in your best interest to understand your rights and any pertinent laws surrounding all forms of surveillance tech you plan to use. This keeps you protected and ensures that any information you gather is legally admissible in court.
When using recording devices like nanny cams, determine if the state in which you will be recording is a one-party state. In one-party states, surveillance is legal as long as one party is aware of it. However, even surveillance in one-party states like New York comes with restrictions. For starters, you cannot install surveillance equipment where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms and changing rooms.
Safety and Surveillance
Knowing local surveillance laws is just one of the ways that you can protect yourself while gathering information, no matter the reason. It’s also a good idea to take a multifaceted approach when it comes to surveillance, employing analog and digital methods as needed. Don’t put all of your faith in surveillance equipment. Even the best technology can fail, so make sure to have a backup plan.
If you’re a business owner looking to prevent theft, consider investing in a walk-through metal detector in addition to surveillance equipment. Make no mistake, workplace theft is unfortunately common across the U.S., accounting for a loss of 20% of every dollar earned. Employing thorough surveillance tactics can help you to reduce those numbers, and make your property less attractive to would-be thieves.
The Future of Surveillance
The combination of metal detectors and surveillance cameras can also be successfully utilized in a home setting, or by private investigators, an increasing segment of the national workforce. Interestingly, employment of private detectives is expected to increase at a “faster than average” rate through 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase may be noticeably more prominent in the seven states that don’t require private investigators to be licensed, including Idaho, Colorado, and Mississippi.
The dos and don’ts of surveillance are particularly relevant for private detectives looking to uphold a reputation of integrity. But the future of surveillance involves every subset of the population, from those making a living via surveillance to employers and homeowners working towards self-preservation.
In our current era of increased surveillance, self-preservation goes both ways. Surveillance will remain a cornerstone of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we should always be aware of the ways in which we are monitored. Make note of surveillance equipment that could potentially be collecting your personal information, like cameras where you clock in at work and GPS trackers on your smartphone. Vigilance is your best defense against unwanted surveillance.
By taking a multifaceted approach and doing your research, you can make surveillance tech work for you, keeping you safe from theft, the threat of litigation, and more. When it comes to surveillance, make sure that you do understand your rights, whether you’re a private investigator or concerned citizen.
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