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

Axis and Arecont Legal Conflict Over Multi-Imager Cameras on Aug 17, 2017
Arecont threatened Axis. Axis has responded by moving to invalidate an Arecont patent. It is an important contest. Multi-imagers are Arecont's...
IP Camera Specification / RFP Guide 2017 on Aug 14, 2017
RFPs are hard. Do them 'right' and it takes a lot of knowledge and time. Do them 'wrong' and you can be (a) unwittingly locked into a specific...
US Army Bans Chinese DJI Drones on Aug 08, 2017
The US Army has issued a ban on Chinese-made DJI drones. A US Army memo obtained by sUAS News references a classified document from the Army...
Canon Sues Avigilon on Jul 27, 2017
Canon, owner of Axis and Milestone, has sued Avigilon for patent infringement in US court. This is a highly atypical move for Canon, pitting 3 of...
Milestone Beats OnSSI In Court on Jul 17, 2017
The litigation between former partners Milestone and OnSSI has finished, confirmed by both parties. In April 2016, OnSSI sued Milestone and in...
Manufacturers Shipping Unlicensed H.265 Products on Jun 22, 2017
While H.265 support in video surveillance is growing, IPVM's research shows that most surveillance manufacturers are shipping H.265 products with...
No Hack, Still Liable, Court Finds ADT on Jun 20, 2017
Recently, ADT has been in the news for a $16 million settlement for a cyber security vulnerability class action suit. One of the most important...
Non-Competes Divide Integrators on Jun 12, 2017
Non-competes are controversial legal agreements that prohibit parties (typically employees) from working in a similar role or trade of their...
ShotSpotter IPOs, Facing Low Revenue and Losses on Jun 09, 2017
A rare event for North American security manufacturers has happened. ShotSpotter has IPOed on the NASDAQ, raising $30.8 million. US IPOs,...
Shark Tank Startup Guard Llama Mobile Panic Tested on May 16, 2017
A Shark Tank TV show appearance has attracted big attention for Guard Llama, a security startup touting a 'panic button' paired with mobile app...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Avigilon CEO Attacks Asian Companies Cyber Insecurity on Aug 18, 2017
Avigilon CEO is taking aim at their Asian competitors. And he is going directly after these company's cyber security issues. In this note, we...
Sony Next Gen HD Dome Camera Tested (SNC-EM642R) on Aug 18, 2017
Sony has released their latest generation, claiming improved WDR and low light, increased IR range, and more. We tested the SNC-EM642R outdoor IR...
IP Networking Course September 2017 on Aug 17, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
Knightscope Raises $10 Million With $3,320 Average Per Investor on Aug 17, 2017
Congrats to Knightscope. And condolences to their legion of little investors. Knightscope has disclosed they have raised $10+ million from their...
Axis and Arecont Legal Conflict Over Multi-Imager Cameras on Aug 17, 2017
Arecont threatened Axis. Axis has responded by moving to invalidate an Arecont patent. It is an important contest. Multi-imagers are Arecont's...
Directory Of Consumer Security Cameras on Aug 16, 2017
The consumer camera segment continues to grow, with new startups and models from existing players released seemingly every month. In this report we...
Cat 5e vs Cat 6 vs Cat 6a Network Cable Usage Statistics on Aug 16, 2017
Cat 5e? Cat 6? Cat 6a? What do integrators use in practice, today? 140+ integrators told IPVM. Here are the results: For those who want to...
Hikvision Responds To Cracked Security Codes on Aug 15, 2017
Hikvision has responded to IPVM's report on Hikvision's security code being cracked, both with a 2 page update to dealers and communication...
Stolen Video NVR / DVR Statistics on Aug 15, 2017
"But what happens if someone steals my recorder?" Anyone who has done more than a handful of jobs has probably heard this question several times....
Hikvision Europe Cutting Out Unauthorized End User Sales on Aug 15, 2017
The days of anyone buying Hikvision from anywhere off the Internet are numbered, at least in Europe, if Hikvision's plan comes to fruition. In...

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