Are your neighbors watching you?
If so, there may be something you can do about it. . .
As of September 15, 2017, a new law came into effect in the State of New York providing a private, civil right of action for unwarranted video imaging of residential premises. That means that you can sue your neighbor (or any other person) who installs or affixes a video camera on their adjoining property for the purpose of videotaping the recreational activities that occur in your backyard. Section 52-a of the Civil Rights Law establishes a right to seek damages resulting from this unauthorized invasion of privacy. The legislation seeks to close a gap that was left after the passage of “Stephanie’s Law,” an anti-voyeurism law focused on the protection of privacy. To be actionable, the video surveillance must occur without written consent of the property owner, and must have been done with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm or threaten the person being watched. The statute does not apply to the use of drones, however, but only to video-taping devices that are installed or affixed to adjoining property. Nor does the statute apply to law enforcement personnel performing their authorized duties. Both homeowners and renters have standing to sue under the new law.