Justin Bieber and Why Jail Bathroom Surveillance Cameras Are Legal

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Mar 11, 2014

Justin Bieber urinating in a jail cell recently became international news, evidently for its entertainment value, despite the boring video clip released following a public records request:

Many questioned why the police had surveillance cameras in the bathroom. Do not bathrooms have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

We talked to the Miami Beach Police Department about why the cameras are there and found out why the police department says they are exempt from that part of Florida’s surveillance law.

Florida’s Broad Statute on Video Recording

Florida is one of 13 states that prohibits video camera recording private in places like bathrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms or where people are “exposing a sexual organ,” however the Florida statute does not apply in cases where:

  • "A written notice is conspicuously posted on the premises stating that a video surveillance system has been installed for the purpose of security”
  • “The presence of the device is clearly and immediately obvious."
  • And “law enforcement agency conducting surveillance for a law enforcement purpose.”

In the case of the Bieber video, all apply, according to the police department.

Technically the Cameras Aren’t in a 'Bathroom'

The Miami Beach police department says this video would not fall into the category of a bathroom, locker room or dressing room either.

“That is actually a temporary holding cell that just happens to have a toilet in there,” said a police department spokesperson. “It’s not a restroom per se. It’s a cell. That law doesn’t apply to jail cells. If it was an actual dedicated restroom it would. We have jail cells with urinals in them.”

The spokesman said the cameras are there because guards have to be able to see the entire cell to make sure a person doesn’t try to harm themselves or someone else. The cameras are monitored live 24/7.

He said the part of the law regarding exposed sexual organs also doesn’t apply because, “There’s also a metal divider that actually covers the private area.”

The Miami Beach PD says there have been no legal challenges to the cameras facing the urinals in its holding cells.

If not, does that also mean that bathroom cameras are fair game in Florida as long as there is signage, and there are stalls or dividers between urinals?

A Case out of Washington

There is a pending case in Washington State that deals with bathrooms in holding cells. Several women are suing the Pyallup police department for recording them while using the bathroom in holding cells. They are suing for privacy and civil rights violations. They say they had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The city attorney argues that a person doesn't have an expectation of privacy when they go to jail.

There are no dividers blocking the person from the view of the camera in the holding cells. The image below was pulled from the security system and attached to the lawsuit (the black bar was added after the fact):

 

Comments (30): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Washington DC MPD's Surveillance Equipment on Feb 21, 2017
The Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department's surveillance system was hacked in January 2017. Two immediate questions were: Whose...
Hikvision Ezviz Mini 360 Plus - $80 Autotracking Camera Tested on Feb 21, 2017
Autotracking, integrated IR, local storage, full HD, cloud access: $80. That is the claim of Hikvision EZVIZ's new Mini 360 Plus. But for this...
Hitachi Taking On Security Industry on Feb 09, 2017
Hitachi, bigger than Sony and Panasonic overall, with $89 billion USD 2016 total revenue, is expanding into the security industry. They are...
Introduction To Burglar Alarm Systems on Jan 04, 2017
While alarm systems are popular, balancing between the right level of protection, the appropriate components and an acceptable price can be very...
Axis Partner Elder Care Video Analytics (Smartervision) on Dec 07, 2016
Can video analytics be used to improve the care of the elderly? Axis and a video analytics startup, Smartervision, are working together to do so....
FLIR Acquires Drone Manufacturer For $134M on Dec 01, 2016
FLIR has acquired Prox Dynamics, a Norwegian maker of small military-grade drones, for $134M.  FLIR president Andy Teich provided additional...
Avigilon Stock Surges 40% On Strong Growth (Q3 2016) on Nov 15, 2016
The roller coaster continues. After a brutal Q2 heading down, Avigilon's Q3 growth is strongly up. Inside this note, we examine what powered...
'Legal Protection' From Eagle Eye Contract Vault Examined on Nov 02, 2016
"I was promised the high-end model for the entry level price." "Nobody said there would be a monthly service fee when I signed...
Dahua Says They Are Botnet Attack 'Victims' on Oct 26, 2016
'Victim' or 'accomplice'? Dahua has issued a new press release, referring to their products as 'victims' of the massive botnet attacks hitting the...
Chinese Company Xiongmai Threatens Legal Action Against Western Accusers on Oct 24, 2016
The Chinese video surveillance manufacturer, Xiongmai, whose equipment numerous sources blame for driving massive Internet attacks over the past...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Honeywell Sues Alarm.com For Violating Anti-Trust Laws on Feb 24, 2017
Is Alarm.com about to dominate the smart home software market? That is what Honeywell alleges in its new lawsuit, first reported by...
Axis: "Everything is IP" - False on Feb 24, 2017
Axis is congratulating itself, with executive Fredrick Nilsson declaring: "Now the conversion is all done and everything is IP and analog is...
Advertising Like Avigilon at the ISC West Airport on Feb 24, 2017
Avigilon has grabbed a lot of attention over the last few years advertising at the Las Vegas airport when attendees fly in. But how does that...
Artificial Intelligence Robot Assistant (ACTi) on Feb 23, 2017
Has artificial intelligence come to the video surveillance industry? ACTi has released 'SARA' which it bills as an 'AI assistant that brings...
Cutting Costs 70% Using Milestone With HD Analog on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog and enterprise VMSes are often thought of as being on opposite sides of the spectrum, with HD analog best for small jobs due to its low...
Dahua 4K HD Analog Cameras Announced on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog has been gaining popularity (even if Axis hopes otherwise). Last year, HD analog's max resolution doubled from 1080p to 4MP (see our 4MP...
Uniview (UNV) IP Cameras Tested on Feb 22, 2017
"We're #3," in China says Uniview (UNV). While the company significantly trails Hikvision and Dahua in total sales, one notable difference is that...
Glass Doors and Access Control Tutorial on Feb 22, 2017
The biggest challenge for many access control systems are glass doors. Here's what happens when a maglock is improperly installed to an existing...
Exacq Favorability Results on Feb 22, 2017
For years, Exacq has been one of the most frequently favored VMSes in IPVM integrator statistics (e.g., see Favorite VMS Manufacturers...
The Hot RMR Company - Electric Guard Dog on Feb 22, 2017
The financiers at the Barnes Buchanan conference praised a company named 'Electric Guard Dog'. While the name sounds fairly low tech, the money and...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact