Watch CBS News

New N.Y. Law Allows Neighbors To Sue Over Unwelcome Outdoor Cameras

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.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.