Legal Considerations to Preserving Video Surveillance Evidence

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Feb 11, 2014

Missing surveillance video, even if you did not 'mean' to do it, can lead to sanctions and penalties in court.

We spoke with attorney Mark Berman who specializes in electronic discovery issues, such as video surveillance, about when end users have the duty to preserve footage from being lost, destroyed or degraded, and how to use it.

Determining If Content Should Be Preserved

If someone receives a notice of a litigation or they reasonably should have known the information could be potentially relevant, then that is where the preservation obligation kicks in. The most common cases where these issues come up with video surveillance are personal injury.

******* ************ *****, **** ** *** *** ***'****'** ** **, *** **** ** ********* *** ********* ** court.

** ***** **** ******** **** ********* *********** ** ********** ********* ******, **** ** ***** ************, about **** *** ***** **** *** **** ** ******** ******* from ***** ****, ********* ** ********, *** *** ** *** it.

Determining ** ******* ****** ** *********

** ******* ******** * ****** ** * **************** ********** ****** **** ***** *** *********** ***** ** *********** relevant, **** **** ** ***** *** ************ ********** ***** **. The **** ****** ***** ***** ***** ****** **** ** **** video ************ *** ******** ******.

[***************]

Penalties *** **** ********** **** ** ***** ************ ******* *** ** *** ** negligence *** ** *** *** *** ** ***** *** ****** of ********* ****** *** ********* ******** ********* ** *** ***** of ****** ***** ** *** *****. ***** ***** ******* ******** sanctions, ********’* ****, * ***** ********** ******* ** ****, ******** preclusion ** ** **** ********* *****, ******** * *** ** the ***** *****.

**** ************** ****** *********** ** ****, *** ***** ** * finding ** ****** **** **** ****** **********, **** ****** **** instruct *** **** ***** ****** ** ******* ********* **** *** absence – “********* *** ***** ** ******** ** **** **** inference *** ********* *** **** ** ****** ********* ** ** so.”

*** *******, ******** *. ******** ******** ******­****, * ***** ******* *** *********** ******** ***** ******* ********* ** ** ***** ** ***** ***** *** ********** ******* ******** of ***** ***** ******* **, **** ****** *** ********* ***** sent * ****** ****** *** **** ** ******** **. How ** ******** **

** ** ****

****** *** ******* *********** *** *** *********** ******* "** ************ should ** **** ** **** ** ******** ** **** **** it *****’* ********* ** *******,” ** ****. ********* ************* **** different ********* *****, *** **** **’* *** ***** *** **** that ******* ** ***** ********, **’* ********* ** ******** *** review ** ** **** ** ** ******* ******* ** ********.

**** ******* *** ***** **** ****’** ***** **** *** ****


****** ********** ************* **** ***** ************ ******* **** ***** ************ to **** ** ******* ************ ** ** **, **** ** they **** ***** *** ****** ****. **** *** ** * person ** ********** **** ********** ***** **** ******** ****** *** will **** *** ** ****** ** *********.

“** ********, ***’* **** **** *** **-***** ** ****** ** it. ** ** ** ********* ****** **** *** ***** ** needs ** ** *********, **** * ************ ** **,” ** said. "*** **** **** **** *** ** ********* ****** **** went ** *** ****, **** ********** ** *** ********, **** a ****, *** ******** *** ******** ********** ******* *** ******, and ****** **** **** ****, *** *******.” **** ******* **** helps ********* ***** ** ******* *****.

** ********* **** *****, *** ************ *** * ****** ******* when **** *** ***** **** **** ***** ** **** ******* knowledgeable ***** *** ****** ** *** ******.

***** *** **** ***** ***** ** ******** ****** ************** ****** information *** *** ****** “**** ***’* **** -- *** **** reasons *** *** *** ******* -- *** **** ** *** realized ** *** ** *** ***** ** ** *** *** years,” ** ****. "** **** ****, *** ******** ** ******* overwritten, *** *** *** **** ** ******* **** * ****** claiming **** *** ********* (** ****) ******** ********."
The ***** ** *** ********* ************ ************ ******* ** ********* ****** **-****, ** ********* *******, in *** ***** ** ** ******** *********. ** ***** ** be ***** *** *** **********, ******* ** ******* ** ******* evidence, *** **’* ********* ** **** ******* *** ******** *** procedures ** **** ******* ***** ** ********, ****** ****.

“********* ** ** *** ******** ********** ** ********* ** ** management **** ****** ** ** ******** *****, *** *** **** does *** ****** ***** **** *** ***** **** ** *****, and *** ******* **** ****, *********** ** *******, ***** *********** are *** ******** **** **** *****. ********** *** **** ***** a ******* *** *** ******** ********** ** ******* *****’*," ** said.

** *** **** ********** *. ****** ******** ******* ******,*** ********* **** * ****** ****** *** ****** ** **** on ** *** *****, *** *** ***** *** ***** ********* to *** **** ********** **********. *** ***** *** ***********. *** court "******* *********’* ******­**** ****** ** *** ****** ** ********** defen­dant **** *********** ******** ** *****."

**** ********* *** ****, **’* ********* **** **** **** ******* digital ******** ********** ****** **** *** ** **** **** **** about. **** *** ********* ** ******* ***** *** ************** ****** information ** ****, *** ******* ***** ******* ** *** ********, and **** ** * ********* ******* ** ****.

Just ******* ******* ***’* ******* *****’* **** *********"If the video surveillance footage is one of multiple avenues of evidence to establish a legal position, then the likelihood of sanctions being awarded is decreased and the severity of a potential sanction decreases,” Berman said.

** *** ************ *. *** *** ******* ****, *** ********* *** **** ** ***** ***** *** ************* destroyed, *** ***** *** ****** ******** ** ***** *** **** so *** **** ******** *** "** ******* ********* ****** ** given ** ***** ******* [***] ********* **** ******* ** *** unavail­able *********," ****** ******* * ******* ** *** ****.

** ********, ** *** ************ ******* *** *** *** **** that ***** ***** *** ****, ********* ********. ********* **** *******, I ***** ****** **** ***** ****** ** ***** ******* *** the **** ******** ** * **** *** **** *** *** store “****” *** *******. ** ******** ** **** ***** ** going ** *** *** ****** *** *** ******* ** ******** and **** ** *** ******* ** **** ********.

"*** ***** ** *** **** ******** **** *** ****** ** dead, *** ***** *** ** ***** *********,” ** ****. Having ******* ****** *** ** *** ** ** **** *****

************* ****** ** ***** ** *** ******** ** ***** ************ footage. *** ******** **** ** *********, *** **** ********* ** court, ** *** **** ***** **** ****.

“** *** **** ******* ******** **** *****, *** *** ***** code ** ** *** *** **** ****** ******* * *********, you *** **** ** ****, ******* **, *** **** ******* conditions. *** ****** ** ****** ******* ******** ** **** *** can *** ** ** ******* **** ****. ** ** **** like **** *** **** ** ***** ****, *** *** **** it ** ** ****** ** *** *** ** *** ********** noise,” ** ****.

Comments (5)

So, you're in trouble if video evidence exists and you allow it to be destroyed. What if you don't have a clear policy on the length of time you retain video for? Also, I presume nothing happens if you're notified that you should be saving that video after the video has been erased, correct?

No there could still be penalties applied by the court. Even if an organization receives notification after it has been erased, if the organization knew there was evidence there, they could be found negligent. It would be up to a judge to decide to what extent they were negligent though. The policy doesn't matter much if the organization knew it had video, but let it get erased.

Storing video footage can amount to a ton of disk space use. I assume that keeping six months worth of footage would be sufficient, but the questions is, where do you draw the line? I have seen instances where software during installation, when not setup properly, can and will overwrite video footage. I have also had to on several occasions re-install software to reset threshholds for video allocation storage. If threshholds are not setup properly with some video cameras on the initail install, video allocation will overflow to other drives causing huge space issues with the CPU C-Drive, which can cause crashes and video recording to stop.

Creating a storage policy and making sure all steps are followed during the software and allocation steps of the software install are very crucial to the success of the video surveliance. It is a shame to to have something happen and not have video footage when needed due to sloppy software setup and an insuffiecient back up plan.

Rob, my read from this interview is not that one needs to store video forever to protect themselves but that they need to be proactive in exporting video for known events that may lead to litigation. It would seem harder to argue that if an event was only 'discovered' 4 months later, that a user would be responsible for not having video available then.

If I understand this, Berman recomends having someone like an integrator pull the video. What I didn't read is...to what exposure the integrator is then exposed. I can easily see where an integrator is then dragged into a court case and becomes a potential defendant due to no ill intent simply by trying to service the customer. Do I have this all wrong?

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports on Legal

GDPR For Video Surveillance Guide on Apr 12, 2018
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on May 25, but there is much confusion and no clear guidelines on...
Audio Usage In Video Surveillance Statistics on Mar 28, 2018
Audio is more widely available and easier to use than ever, with many IP cameras building audio in and often making integration as simple as...
Axis Wins, Arecont Cancels Multi-Imager Patent on Feb 26, 2018
16 months after Arecont publicly threatened Axis and 7 months after Axis took Arecont to patent 'court', Axis has won, with Arecont canceling all...
The Interceptor Aims To Fix Vulnerability In Millions of Alarm Systems on Jan 08, 2018
Security executive Jeffery Zwirn claims a 'catastrophic' flaw exists in 'millions of alarm systems', and dealers could be liable if not fixed. The...
Chinese Government Attacks Western Reports on Jan 03, 2018
The Chinese government is angry at the BBC and WSJ's reporting on Chinese video surveillance (see BBC Features Dahua and WSJ Investigates China's...
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...
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...

Most Recent Industry Reports

The Yolo Bro And The Death of Journalism on Apr 24, 2018
There's an old quote: The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable Unfortunately, the opposite is more...
DMP Adds Ring Video Doorbell Integration on Apr 24, 2018
Video doorbells have become one of the hottest items for security systems. After several years with no doorbell, DMP has announced integration with...
Milestone 2017 Financials Examined on Apr 24, 2018
For ISC West 2018, Milestone released ... their financials, touting "strong revenue growth in 2017". However, there were discrepancies with the...
Chinese Manufacturer Kickstarter Campaign Huge Success (EverCam) on Apr 23, 2018
In a week, a Chinese manufacturer's expertly done Kickstarter campaign has received $1.4 million in pledges, an incredible amount for a video...
Favorite Biometrics 2018 on Apr 23, 2018
Biometrics are on the rise, or at least integrator opposition to them is declining, according to new IPVM integrator statistics.   Almost half of...
Dahua and Hikvision Win Over $1 Billion In Government-Backed Projects In Xinjiang on Apr 23, 2018
Dahua and Hikvision have won well over $1 billion worth of government-backed surveillance projects in China’s restive Xinjiang province since 2016,...
May 2018 Camera Course on Apr 20, 2018
Save $50 on early registration until this Thursday, the 26th. Register now (save $50) for the Spring 2018 Camera Course This is the only...
Global Real-Time Video Surveillance - EarthNow on Apr 20, 2018
A new company, EarthNow, with backing from Bill Gates, Airbus and more, is claiming that: Users will be able to see places on Earth with a delay...
Dedicated Vs Converged Access Control Networks (Statistics) on Apr 20, 2018
Running one's access control system on a converged network, with one's computers and phones, can save money. On the other hand, hand, doing so can...
April 2018 IP Networking Course on Apr 19, 2018
This is the last chance to register for our IP Networking course. Register now. NEW - 2 sessions per class, 'day' and 'night' to give you double...

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