What is the Legal Risk of Recording Over Surveillance Video?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 04, 2011

One common fear among surveillance users is that video will be recorded over before the user knows or is able to retrieve the video. Under such circumstances, fears of lawsuits and litigation are significant.

A recent US court case involving Wal-Mart provides a valuable precedent that users should not be found liable for video recorded over in the normal course of events.

This case was recently upheld on appeal in the New Jersey Superior Court and the full and the full verdict can be found here: State vs Lugo-Pagan decision.

Here are the key particulars in the case:

  • A Wal-Mart security officer noticed suspicious activity of an jewelery department employee stuffing merchandise in Wal-Mart bags. As the employee was leaving, security confronted the defendant and discovered the unpaid bags of merhandise.
  • 7 days after the incident, the defendant requested a copy of the surveillane.
  • 2 months later the court ordered Wal-Mart to provide all video recorded on the date of the incident
  • Wal-Mart only provided short video clips (about 5 minutes each) and could not provide any more as the video was recorded over after 30 days
  • Defendant was found guilty of shoplifting. However, the defendant appealed on the basis of the destroyed surveillance video.
  • The appeal was denied with the Court concluding "It is undisputed that Wal-Mart, and not the police, destroyed the evidential value of the videotapes by taping over them, pursuant to its policy, thirty days later. Where tapes were erased by the police "as a matter of routine," our Supreme Court found no evidence of bad faith by the police. State v. Reynolds, 124 N.J. 559, 569 (1991). Certainly, the erasing of tapes by Wal-Mart cannot be considered evidence of bad faith by the police here. "

We think this is a good case to share with concerned security managers as it is a fairly typical one that involves a prominent end user.

This case should help allay concerns over liability for not having recorded video. While video recording are certainly useful for prosecuting, not having them or only saving some is consistent with the verdict of this case.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Hikvision Fights Ban - Claims 'Red Scare', Hires 14 Term Ex-Congressman on Jul 11, 2018
Hikvision is fighting back against the House Bill Ban of their products. Hikvision has hired one of the biggest lobbying firms, led by a 14 term...
SIA Lobbyists Working On House Bill Ban of Dahua and Hikvision on Jul 10, 2018
While SIA is most known for ISC West, SIA maintains the industry's most significant lobbying organization to influence US government action. Last...
Belgium Bans Private Facial Surveillance on Jul 06, 2018
Belgium has effectively banned the use of facial recognition and other biometrics-based video analytics in surveillance cameras for private,...
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...
GDPR / ICO Complaint Filed Against IFSEC Show Facial Recognition on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM has filed a complaint against IFSEC’s parent company UBM based on our concern that the conference violates core GDPR principles on...
China Public Video Surveillance Guide: From Skynet to Sharp Eyes on Jun 14, 2018
China is expanding its video surveillance network to achieve “100%” nationwide coverage by 2020, including facial recognition capabilities and a...
Remove Dahua and Hikvision Gov Installs Required By US House Bill Ban on Jun 06, 2018
The final released US House Bill HR 5515 verifies that it not only prohibits the purchasing of Dahua and Hikvision products, it requires removing...
Panasonic Sells Security Camera Patents To Troll on Jun 04, 2018
In a highly atypical move, Panasonic has sold off nearly 100 security camera patents to one of the most well-known patent trolls. This comes just...
French National Police Buy 10,400 Hikvision Body Cameras on May 31, 2018
France’s national police forces bought 10,400 Hikvision body cameras earlier this year, in a high-profile deal that’s coming into effect as the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...

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