Can My Neighbor Point Their Security Camera at My Backyard?

Have you asked yourself this question? We consulted a lawyer for the answer.

Amazon’s new television show, Ring Nation, centers around funny footage caught on Ring doorbell security cameras. Almost immediately, a petition was launched and signed by thousands of privacy rights advocates demanding the show be canceled.

This show isn’t the only one to profit from security camera footage. People on TikTok and other media platforms have been sharing funny, scary, and puzzling security cam footage with a worldwide audience for some time.

This has many people thinking: can my neighbor point their security camera at my backyard and capture embarrassing footage? We consulted with Justin Lovely, an attorney with experience in privacy law, to find out.

Can a Neighbor Point a Security Camera at My Backyard?

Yes, according to Lovely.

“Generally speaking, a person has no expectation of privacy in public,” he says. “In a neighborhood setting, a homeowner can add a security camera to his house and place a security camera pointing in whatever direction he pleases.”

When Can a Neighbor Point a Security Camera at Your House?

The short answer is, whenever they want, as long as they don’t have bad intentions. If it’s purely for home security purposes, they’re allowed to point their security camera at your backyard.

When Is It Not OK for a Neighbor To Point a Security Camera at Your House?

It’s important to investigate your state’s security camera laws to know your rights. Different states have different laws on the placement of cameras, based on their owner’s intent.

“All states will have some sort of statute to answer this question,” Lovely says. “It really depends on the particular facts of the camera placement and the proof or lack thereof that there is bad intent in gathering the footage.”

In Texas, it’s illegal to film certain parts of other people’s anatomy without consent. So if you pointed your camera at your neighbor’s pool to catch someone skinny dipping, that would be illegal. In South Carolina, the law says cameras aren’t allowed to point in a “place where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.” This could mean a dressing room or other personal spaces.

What To Do If a Neighbor Points a Security Camera at Your House

If you’ve noticed your neighbor’s security camera pointed your way, Lovely recommends communication.

“The first step will be to have a reasonable conversation about the placement of the security camera if you feel it is intrusive,” said Lovely. “Most neighbors are friendly, believe it or not, and this will solve 99 percent of issues between property owners.

“If that does not work, and you feel your privacy is being invaded or there is bad intent of the placement, file a complaint with law enforcement.”

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Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford is a technology and internet safety and security expert for SafeWise.com and has contributed her insights to dozens of national publications, both in print and online. Her goal is to make gadgets less mystifying, one article at a time.