Hidden CCTV can be used for US office surveillance

August 6, 2009

The United States Supreme Court of California ruled that a company cannot be held liable if it installs a hidden CCTV in an employee’s office with a legitimate business purpose in mind.

A hidden camera was placed at the Hillsides Children’s Centre in Pasadena to aid the officials of the organisation in discovering the identity of a person who was viewing child porn on the centre’s computer facilities in the morning.

The court ruled that this was a reasonable request since the employer had a right to discover the person behind the action.

There were two workers who utilised the office, but they were not suspects due to the fact they were out of the office during the times that the pornographic sites were viewed.

The camera did not catch the suspect on film however.

The Supreme Court noted that it does not encourage the use of surveillance cameras hidden in the workplace, but that it was permissible given the severity of the action that was occurring in the office.

The two women, who shared the office, initially sued their employee in the case of Hernandez v. Hillsides Inc for invasion of privacy when they discovered the hidden cameras in the office space while working one day.

The court noted in its response that due to the fact the employers were not at risk of being caught on film, since the camera only recorded after work hours, they did not have their privacy invaded.


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