City in NY Makes Cameras and Police Access Mandatory

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on Feb 14, 2014

Surveillance sales people dream about their products being required by law. Qatar's surveillance laws do that, and it would be a gold mine if the huge U.S. market followed suit. In this update, we review a recently passed ordinance that requires surveillance for businesses in a New York city.

The Ordinance

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Recording **** *** *********Surprisingly, the ordinance doesn’t require cameras to record at all times, but “during all hours of operation of the business and two hours after the business closes.” Video must be stored for a minimum of seven days.

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Comments (18)

This ordinance is ridiculous. No lawsuits brought yet?

How many constitutional amendments does this break, directly or indirectly?

Given that this is NY, they will probably inspect all the video they can in order to find people who might be violating any law, like wearing white after labor day.

I'd love to be a combo security integrator/lawyer there right now.

Let the lawsuits from businesses commence...

In one year, let more lawsuits from citizens commence...

I can see it now: They'll grab video from a bar, then arrest a patron for public intoxication. Don't think that would happen? Well, a couple years ago in Fairfax county, police raided bars, and arrested people inside the bars for public intoxication. Yes, inside the bars. http://www.prisonplanet.com/a_crime_to_drink.html

WorldNetDaily: Cops go to bars to arrest drunks

Police enforcing public drunkenness laws at local bars

Then, they'll arrest anyone who is carrying anything that looks like a gun.

Then, they'll arrest .... anyone they want for anything they want.

Instead, they should do incentives, require a warrant (or at least a subpoena), and insurance companies can provide discounts for systems, just like homeowners can get a discount with a security system.

Where I work, if the police come to me looking for data, I demand a warrant to our registered agent, and I get our internal counsel involved. On TV, police get data/video from anyone with harassment. Doesn't work here.

Now, if I call the police, I'll have the data/video ready to hand over, (after talking with internal legal).

BTW, thanks for posting this.

I completely agree with the above posters.... ridiculous ordinance.

This is a grandstanding move by someone who wants to get headlines/re-elected. The lack of technical specifications proves (to me) that the backers of this new ordinance have no clue what they are doing.

Forget the local integrators.... they are partying hard at the local barrister watering holes.

In my non-lawyerly opinion, one huge problem with this ordinance is that it attempts to selectively (and in practice, subjectively) identify those that must comply with this 'law', while excluding those it/they deem 'not applicable'.

And warrantless access to private property by local LE is particularly troubling to me as well... :(

Wow. A customer forced to spend the cash on something will get the bare minimum needed meaning less profit margins and more headaches.

Stupid (and likely both unenforceable and unconstitutional) law.

White Plains, huh? Now I get it! Even 40-50 years ago when I lived fairly nearby, White Plains was known for being "Snooty".

Let me ask a stupid question :)

What is unconstitutional about this ordinance? What specifically does this violate?

I am not saying it's good, I am just wondering on what grounds it is unconstitutional.

14th Amendment (Equal Protection Clause)

4th Amendment (Unreasonable Searches & Seizures)

5th Amendment (Self-Incrimination Clause) - if they can seize your system with no warrant, it may contain self-incriminating material you would not normally be forced to disclose.

Let's see:

Possibly warrantless searches and seizures?

Ok, then the objection is not the requirement to have a surveillance system but the mandatory police access, correct?

My 14th Amendment objection is based on my previously mentioned selective/subjective enforcement.

The owners of the listed types of establishments are being singled out for enforcement based on arbitrary standards.

How about "taxation without representation"? The requirement is, in effect, a selective tax.

Just another example of legislators from local all the way up passing laws that violate the constitution/bill of rights. They do it all the time and the law will stay on the books until challenged, costing someone AND the public entity(taxpayers) that passed the law lots of bucks. Then it will usually get overturned by the court, then it is gone and the same BS will continue over and over. The irony is in most cases the law 'makers' are advised by their legal folks the law will not make it.

Happens here in Idaho all the time. Lawyers love this stuff.

Well, there's lots of equipment requirements to run businesses. Buddy of mine had a bakery. He wanted to serves sandwiches and eggs and soup. AHJ told him he could make all the coffee and cold sandwiches he wanted, but if he wanted to have a griddle for scrambled eggs, he would have to install a fire supression system and an overhead exhaust hood.

What about soup?

You can have a soup crock if you want, says the AHJ, but if there's oil in the soup, you cannot cook, warm, or serve it unless you have a full fire supression setup and exhaust hood.

Okay, says my buddy, who started offering sandwiches, including cream cheese, lox, egg salad, and tuna (all cooked offsite), but not eggs or soup.

ahhhh, and there is the rub, Ari..... who has granted the AHJ the J to enforce this type of selective ordinance?

What gives LE that authority - beyond this self-worded, now 'legal' document? There would seem to be at least some question as to how this new ordinance may be in direct conflict with existing statutes at higher levels.

As others have already pointed out, there are laws made all the time that eventually crumble under further legal scrutiny. I think this is one of those things.

While your food truck buddy has to abide by very specific guidelines for very specific things, this ordinance - imo - is not near specific enough to withstand a strong legal challenge.

It's interesting to see how the question of security is approached in different smaller municipalities and their downtown business districts.

This article about the town of New Castle, PA describes a situation where business owners seem to be working hand with local LE to improve their security and that of their patrons with positive results.

What's different here compared with White Plains, NY? Is it a question of the relationship business owners have with their elected officials and local LE? Did this town work on educating its business community rather than trying to shove some kind of hodgepodge regulation down their throat?

Quick/interesting update to this related to your comment. One of the council members I left a message for while researching this called me back and said a few businesses did work with the city and law enforcement on this. It was a business development group made up of a handful of the businesses downtown. She said there is some controversy/ill will because the law applies to all businesses that fall into the above mentioned categories, yet the majority of the businesses impacted didn't get a chance to provide input.

Conditions relating to CCTV on a liquor licence has been legally enforceable in Australia in some states since the 1990s. Hotel operators have been fined and lost their liquor licences for non compliance. The specifications have evolved over the years but often debated as being poorly written from a technical perspective (often not achievable due to various issues) and not possible to measure compliance objectively. I appeared as an expert CCTV witness for a hotel in Sydney whereby the governing body ruled that the specification developed by the police department was technically ambiguous and couldn't be objectively measured which resulted in the police having to withdraw this particular CCTV specification in the state of NSW and the requirement for the particular hotel to comply with it.

A New Jersey assemblywoman must have read about the White Plains ordinance....

New Jersey is floating a mandatory surveillance Bill at the state level - specifically targeted at casinos - after a 'savage' attack on a patron in an Atlantic City casino stairwell (no details on the incident are given, nor which casino this incident occured in).

What is clearly different in the NJ story is that casinos have way more clout (and high-priced lawyers) than any group of White Plains shopkeepers could ever muster.

The Casino Association of NJ, as you can imagine, is fighting back hard - and one of the things they are attacking is the fact that casinos are being singled out over other commercial establishments.

Towards the end of the story, the 'Bill-makers' were already capitulating some, surmising that the Bill isn't broad enough! i.e. they recognize the legal issue this raises and instead of admitting the whole Bill is stupid, shortsighted and illogical (casinos have a far superior security apparatus already in place than most other commercial entities), they seek to include other types of businesses to overcome the pesky business of writing constitutionally challengeable laws.

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