Legalities Of Video Surveillance
Video Surveillance

Photographic and videographic gathered intelligence plays an important part in the judicial system. To warrant the evidence being admissible in the judicial system, the surveillance photos or video must be taken with extreme care. In most civil, corporate, or criminal matters, the majority of clients will request clearly identifiable photos or video of the subject. Private Investigator must have competent knowledge of the photo/video equipment and its limitations. For example, shooting surveillance video in a bar will require a different camera system from one used in a “static” surveillance.

In most cases, covert video surveillance is not illegal since it does not intercept a communication; rather it only shows an action or activity. However, it is illegal to use video surveillance to observe a person’s actions in situations where he or she have a reasonable expectation of privacy. For example; video surveillance should not be collected in places like bathrooms, bedrooms, sun-tanning booths, change rooms, etc.; doing so may mark this action as an invasion of privacy and the violation of a person’s rights and freedoms. There is no general law against photographing or taking videography of people, property or action in public places. Even if a person requests that they wish not to be photographed or videotaped, it is generally not an offence to do so. Section 175(1) of the Criminal Code should be taken into consideration. Various provinces have enormously restrictive privacy statues that create an offence of violation of privacy by auditory or visual surveillance by any means. This includes eavesdropping, watching, spying or following a person without expressed consent. It is not a “trespass” to take photographs or video of people, actions or objects on private property if the Investigator is on public property or on private property with consent. For example, if video surveillance is taken inside a public building (like a grocery store) and a person gets caught taking video surveillance, the owner or agent of the store has no power to properly seize the photo or video film. No photography or videography is ever allowed inside court buildings. Allowing such action may reveal the identity of minors under the age of 18 years, whether he or she is a victim, witness or offender. Air photography or videography is not illegal or a trespass unless flying over no flight zones or military zones.

Section 175(1) Of The States:

Every one who

(a) not being in a dwelling-house, causes a disturbance in or near a public place,

by fighting, screaming, shouting, swearing, singing or using insulting or obscene language,

by being drunk, or

by impeding or molesting other persons,

(b) openly exposes or exhibits an indecent exhibition in a public place,

(c) Loiters in a public place and in any way obstructs persons who are in that place, or disturbs the peace and quiet of the occupants of a dwelling, house by discharging firearms or by other disorderly conduct in a public place or who, not being an occupant of a dwelling, house comprised in a particular building or structure, disturbs the peace and quiet of the occupants of a dwelling, house compromised in the building

(d) Or structure by discharging firearms or by other disorderly conduct in any part of a building or structure to which, at the time of such conduct, the occupants of two or more dwelling, houses comprised in the building or structure have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied,is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.


The above or any other information on this site is based on opinions and interpretation of the author and is for general information purposes only. This is NOT legal advice. Absolutely do NOT rely on this or any other information on this site without verifying it with your Lawyer.