Backyard Surveillance Bill Will Allow N.Y. Neighbors to Sue Over Outdoor Cameras

A new law signed by Governor Cuomo will allow people to sue their neighbors over surveillance cameras they feel are obtrusive.

NEW YORK CITY — A new law has just been signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo that allows citizens to take their neighbors to court if they feel annoyed, alarmed, harassed or threatened by the neighbor’s outdoor surveillance camera pointed at their backyard.

“We want to make sure you can go to the court and get relief,” said state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Queens). “It’s not a criminal matter, it’s a civil matter, and you ask for an injunction for a court to tell them that they have to remove the camera.”

Braunstein sponsored the Backyard Surveillance Bill after hearing numerous complaints about invasions of privacy by snooping neighbors.

“I wouldn’t like that having them looking straight at my kids in my backyard,” Taso Vassiliou of Flushing, Queens told CBS New York.

Fran Bosi of Flushing, Queens echoed his statements, saying, “I’m entitled to my privacy! I don’t want people taping what I’m doing!

Braunstein said it is important to establish a baseline by asking your neighbor to remove the surveillance camera. However, if the neighbor refuses, litigation may begin.

“I like that new law. There’s a lot of sick people around,” Vassiliou said. “Makes me feel that I can actually do something to help out the family.”

Taking effect Sept. 15., homeowners and renters will both have standing to sue under the new law.

Do you think this type of law could become more prevalent around the country as smart home security popularity increases and the use of surveillance cameras becomes more frequent?