Can my neighbor legally point a security camera at my property?

IMG_1864-300x200You may feel as though your privacy is being violated if your neighbor installs a security camera which—inadvertently or otherwise—captures activity in your yard. Yet there are no laws in Maine which prevent a person from installing cameras pointing outwards from their own property.

The law does not treat your backyard or the outside of your home as spaces where you have the reasonable expectation of privacy. Your neighbor is allowed to visually record you in these spaces for the same reason that Google can take satellite images of your land.

If you find yourself in this situation and are uncomfortable, you may try speaking with your neighbor or installing something on your own property to block the camera’s view. These solutions are of course more likely to be effective if your neighbor is well intentioned and your property simply appears in the background of their recording.

There are some limitations on surveillance recording in the state of Maine that you—and your neighbor—should be aware of:

  • Your neighbor is not allowed to install any device to record audio or conversations coming from your property which would not ordinarily be audible. Maine law prohibits the recording of oral or phone conversations without the consent of one party. Before assuming your neighbor is in violation of this law, you should know that most commercial security cameras are not equipped with audio recording.
  • Your neighbor cannot point cameras through your windows to record spaces inside your home or business where you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

You will have limited legal recourse if your neighbor is adhering to these restrictions. For more information, see Maine Title 17-A, §511: Violation of Privacy.

If your neighbor has installed cameras with the express purpose of making you feel uncomfortable, you may be the victim of harassment, regardless of whether your privacy is being violated.

If you believe that illegal recordings contributed to your arrest, you should call Webb Law Firm at (207) 283-6400. Please contact us today. We provide a free initial consultation to go over your case with you.



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