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

A recently passed ordinance from White Plains, New York requires certain businesses to install and maintain video surveillance systems.

The ordinance, which was written by the White Plains Department of Public Safety’s law department, focuses on businesses “at enhanced risk for unlawful activity.”

According to the new law, pharmacies, anyone who sells alcohol (including bars), pawn shops, jewelry stores, check cashing businesses and any establishment open between midnight and 4 a.m. fall into that category.

This will impact around 250 businesses in the city, and they have one year to comply, according to the city clerk’s office. The penalty for non-compliance is $250 per day.

Specs

The ordinance doesn’t specify a specific number of cameras, but it does mandate cameras at all entrances and exits and be able to capture all activity within 15 feet of the exit "to the extent practicable" and capture "a full frame of the individual's face."

The image requirements are vague. Instead of requiring a certain pixels per foot, it only requires cameras be able to produce “easily discernible images.” They have to record at a minimum of 8fps and cameras must not be able to record audio.

There is no requirement for a specific camera type, pixel count or method of recording except that it must be digital. Recorded video must be stored in a locked “receptacle” in a controlled access area.

Recording Time and Retention

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.

Police Access Mandatory!

The ordinance requires the business turn over surveillance footage to the White Plains Department of Public Safety on demand (immediately if that is during business hours, and as soon as possible if a business is closed).

Additionally, the department can come inspect the system at any time and each year (on January 31st) businesses must submit a certification report showing they are in compliance.

Having a city law in place that grants police access, effectively skirts normal procedure that would require police get a warrant or at least ask a business to share its footage.

Logging Requirement

Businesses must maintain logs of anytime the system is accessed, recordings are exported and what the footage was used for. These logs must be producible on demand.

Opposition

The local business association, which represents 1,000 small businesses in the county says it’s a burden that the government wants to place on businesses. The CEO of the association, Al Samuels says if the government wants there to be more cameras, then they should pay for it. Philadelphia provides a grant as an incentive to businesses that install surveillance cameras, but they don’t require them, for example.

Another businesses owner, who installed his own system, see its as the police forcing city businesses to do their job.

“There’s a difference between the police asking for help and forcing us, under a law, to do surveillance for them,” he told The Journal News [link no longer available].

Three businesses (a diner, a pharmacy, a check cashing place) I called about the ordinance said they already had cameras installed that met the basic requirements, but would not talk about or weren’t aware of the logging requirement and that police access was mandatory.

The city is still working out details on enforcement and certification.

Impact

The city's requirements should be easy to meet. Because it does not require anything specific other than not using a VCR, these requirements could be fulfilled by almost any kit at a big box store. It also frees the city from having to put up more cameras and provides it an on-demand network it does not have to maintain.

However, without more specific requirements about image quality and that cameras don't have to record through the night call into question how good the footage, if any is captured, will be for identifying a perpetrator.

Comments (18) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

London Live Police Face Recognition Visited on Feb 13, 2020
London police have officially begun using live facial recognition in select...
Startup Solink $17 Million USD Fund Raise Expands To Mass Market on Jun 24, 2020
Solink has raised ~$17 million USD, a sizeable round for the company that...
OnTech Smart Services Partners With Google and Amazon To Compete With Integrators on Sep 25, 2020
A pain point for many homeowners to use consumer security and surveillance is...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive...
Axis Exports To China Police Criticized By Amnesty International on Sep 21, 2020
Axis Communications and other EU surveillance providers are under fire from...
The Kiosk Market Pivots To Temperature Screening (Interviewed) on Jul 28, 2020
Video surveillance is not the only market that has pivoted to medical device...
NetApp Video Surveillance Profile on Mar 09, 2020
NetApp is increasing its efforts in video surveillance and told IPVM...
Security Sales Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 02, 2020
Notice: This is the last chance to register for the course. This sales...
Installation Course Fall 2020 - Save $50 - Last Chance on Sep 22, 2020
This is a unique installation course in a market where little practical...
Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...
Axis Compares Fever Camera Sellers to 9/11 on Sep 18, 2020
Axis Communications, the West's largest surveillance camera manufacturer, has...
Verkada Speaks On Disrupting Security Sales Channel on Aug 28, 2020
Verkada's fast growth has taken the industry by storm and their enterprise...
Deep Sentinel Presents Crime Response For Business on Jun 11, 2020
Deep Sentinel presented its anti-intrusion and live response for home and...
Proxy Raises $42 Million on Mar 17, 2020
Startup Proxy has raised $42 million, an astounding amount for the access...
IPVM Opens 12,000 Sqft Testing Facility on Dec 16, 2019
IPVM is proud to announce the opening of the world's first video surveillance...

Recent Reports

OnTech Smart Services Partners With Google and Amazon To Compete With Integrators on Sep 25, 2020
A pain point for many homeowners to use consumer security and surveillance is...
The Future of Metalens For Video Surveillance Cameras - MIT / UMass / Immervision on Sep 25, 2020
Panoramic cameras using 'fisheye' lens have become commonplace in video...
Hikvision Sues Over Brazilian Airport Loss on Sep 24, 2020
Hikvision was excluded from a Brazilian airport project because it is owned...
China General Chamber of Commerce Calls Out US Politics on Sep 24, 2020
While US-China relations are at an all-time low, optimism about relations...
IP Networking Course Fall 2020 - Last Chance - Register Now on Sep 23, 2020
Today is the last chance to register for the only IP networking course...
Drain Wire For Access Control Reader Tutorial on Sep 23, 2020
An easy-to-miss cabling specification plays a key role in access control, yet...
Norway Council of Ethics Finds Hikvision Human Rights Abuses "Ongoing" on Sep 23, 2020
Hikvision's involvement in "serious human rights abuse" in Xinjiang is...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Sep 23, 2020
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The...
Installation Course Fall 2020 - Save $50 - Last Chance on Sep 22, 2020
This is a unique installation course in a market where little practical...
SimpliSafe Business Security Launched Examined on Sep 22, 2020
SimpliSafe has launched "SimpliSafe Business Security" that the company...
FLIR CEO: Many New Fever Entrants "Making Claims That The Science Just Won't Support" on Sep 22, 2020
FLIR's CEO joins a growing number calling out risks with fever / screening...
China Bems Temperature Measurement Terminal Tested on Sep 22, 2020
Guangzhou Bems (brand Benshi) is the manufacturer behind temperature...
Axis Exports To China Police Criticized By Amnesty International on Sep 21, 2020
Axis Communications and other EU surveillance providers are under fire from...
Milestone XProtect on AWS Tested on Sep 21, 2020
Milestone finally launched multiple cloud solutions in 2020, taking a...