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

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 raised $12 million last year. How fast have they grown? What do they...
China Enforces Barriers Against Foreign AI and VSaaS Providers on Sep 30, 2019
While AI and VSaaS is the future of video surveillance, these are obstructed to foreign firms in China (the PRC), where authorities are tightening...
San Francisco Face Recognition Ban And Surveillance Regulation Details Examined on May 14, 2019
San Francisco passed the legislation 8-1 today. While the face recognition 'ban' has already received significant attention over the past few...
Wyze Explosive Growth Disrupting Consumer IP Camera Market on Oct 30, 2018
Wyze, a company founded only in 2017, is poised to disrupt the consumer IP camera market by combining American marketing and Chinese manufacturing...
Default Passwords Outlawed in California, US To Follow on Oct 09, 2018
A new California bill aimed at improving security for connected devices has been signed into law. The law takes aim especially at passwords on...
GDPR For Access Control Guide on Jul 03, 2018
Electronic access control is common in businesses plus organizations are increasingly considering biometrics for access control. With GDPR coming...
VMS Server Sizing on May 25, 2018
Specifying the right sized PC/server for VMS software is one of the most important yet difficult decisions in IP video surveillance. In the past...
New Whole Foods Installs Hackable Access Control (Upgraded) on Feb 21, 2018
Whole Foods has built a reputation for high quality. And their 2017 Amazon acquisition has increased that, plus added deep pockets for buying...
Jeff Bezos-Funded Deep Sentinel Security Startup on Jun 05, 2017
Deep Learning is a rising trend in many commercial security products, and now one entrepreneur wants to bring deep learning to residential...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Illicitly Uses Back To The Future In Marketing on Jul 03, 2020
NBCUniversal told IPVM that Hikvision UK's ongoing coronavirus marketing campaign using NBCUniversal's assets was not allowed. Hikvision mass...
Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM is 'not a good look' and that 'IPVM should never be your source of...
Vintra Presents FulcrumAI Face Recognition on Jul 02, 2020
Vintra presented its FulcrumAI face recognition and mask detection offering at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A...
Uniview Wrist Temperature Reader Tested on Jul 02, 2020
Uniview is promoting measuring wrist temperatures whereas most others are just offering forehead or inner canthus measurements. But how well does...
Dahua USA Admits Thermal Solutions "Qualify As Medical Devices" on Jul 02, 2020
Dahua USA has issued a press release admitting a controversial point in the industry but an obvious one to the US FDA, that the thermal temperature...
Access Control Online Show - July 2020 - With 40+ Manufacturers - Register Now on Jul 01, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce our July 2020 Access Control Show. With 40+ companies presenting across 4 days, this is a unique opportunity to hear...
Hanwha Face Mask Detection Tested on Jul 01, 2020
Face mask detection or, more specifically lack-of-face-mask detection, is an expanding offering in the midst of coronavirus. Hanwha in partnership...
UK Government Says Fever Cameras "Unsuitable" on Jul 01, 2020
The UK government's medical device regulator, MHRA, told IPVM that fever-seeking thermal cameras are "unsuitable for this purpose" and recommends...
Camera Course Summer 2020 on Jun 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training...
Worst Over But Integrators Still Dealing With Coronavirus Problems (June Statistics) on Jun 30, 2020
While numbers of integrators very impacted by Coronavirus continue to drop, most are still moderately dealing with the pandemic's problems, June...