NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new law takes aim at nosy neighbors, establishing a right to sue for unwanted surveillance.

But how exactly do you stop a backyard big brother?

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, home surveillance cameras are constantly multiplying – watching, and sometimes causing worry.

They cause worry especially when they are pointed at your backyard.

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

“I’m entitled to my privacy!” said Fran Bosi of Flushing, Queens. “I don’t want people taping what I’m doing!”

But in New York, there is no legal expectation of privacy outdoors. So it was difficult to fight back against nosy neighbors who could view your backyard with surveillance cameras – until now.

“We want to make sure you can go to the court and get relief,” said state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Queens).

Braunstein sponsored the Backyard Surveillance Bill, which was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Under this law, if you feel annoyed, alarmed, harassed or threatened by your neighbor’s camera pointed at your backyard, you are not to call police, but rather to call your lawyer.
“It’s not a criminal matter, it’s a civil matter,” Braunstein said, “and you ask for an injunction for a court to tell them that they have to remove the camera.”

Braunstein said it is important to establish a baseline by asking your neighbor to remove the camera. If the neighbor refuses, the 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.”

The law takes effect Sept. 15. Homeowners and renters both have standing to sue under the law.

Comments (3)
  1. If the neighbors suffer from paranoia, they may complain whether or not there is a camera.

  2. Cosmo Pup says:

    i put up cameras which covers my yard and my ahole neighbors yard because i caught him using a ultrasonic device to antagonize my dogs twice. my dogs have never been in their yard and never gotten loose. he’s harassed my dogs many times on purpose. and he’s always nosy and comes out to watch me when i working on my yard doing something. and he has cameras pointed at my yard too even though he has no reason to be vindictive. now i have to take down my camera if he complains when it was his actions that force me to put the cameras up. this is unfair. i hope someone challenges this.

  3. So Glad I left NY. The Insanity of the the left has gone to new levels..

    “Under this law, if you feel annoyed, alarmed, harassed or threatened by your neighbor’s camera pointed at your backyard, you are not to call police, but rather to call your lawyer. It’s not a criminal matter, it’s a civil matter,” Braunstein said, “and you ask for an injunction for a court to tell them that they have to remove the camera.”

    Can the Language of this get any more vague?

    So now in this country we try to remove what we feel is offense and now NY ups the bar and allowed you to dictate how your neighbors can protect their property, at what angles that can aim their cameras because you feel “annoyed, alarmed or harassed?” Who write this insane garbage? How to harass someone with your surveillance equipment? How the hell do they even know if your camera is operational? I’d love to see the idiot neighbor who uses this against someone who has dummy cameras mounted.

    Lastly how do you gather evidence to support your claim in court?

    Claimant: “Judge.. he has cameras on his house and they point at at my backyard”

    Judge “how do you know this, can you prove it?”

    Claimant “Well I took a picture of his camera and clearly it points at me when i took the picture”

    Judge: “Does the camera also point at his own property?”

    Claimant: “Ugh I guess, but it also points at mine”

    Judge “The Camera Owner has the right to get the best angle to cover his own property and if your yard is in view.. too bad”

    I also want to make one last point. Even if your camera is aimed at a neighbor’s property from the end of yours, just as buildings and corporations aim their security cameras at their neighbors, streets, to allow security to keep tabs on who might be approaching. You have the right to do the same. You have every right to protect your perimeter so you can surveil to see if there is any imminent danger. A criminal crossing your neighbors property isn’t going find another way just because of those pesky Trespassing laws.

    This is also no different than just standing in your yard and looking into someone else’s. They can’t get an injunction to stop you from looking beyond your property line.

    Neighbors dictating another neighbor’s security is ludicrous. The impact this can have upon the rights of property owners is outrageous.

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