Friday 3 February 2023

Is it legal to put have cameras outside houses?

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QCOSTARICA – Yes, it is possible to have security cameras outside the houses as long as they are not focused directly on other people’s properties or invade the privacy of the neighbors.

This was ratified by the Constitutional Court, also known as Sala IV, following complaints filed against the practice.

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One of the latest complaints was that of a woman Desamparados, alleging that her neighbor had a camera that recorded her entrance to her house, which “affected her psychologically” and prevented her from developing her life normally.

In analyzing the case, the Sala IV reviewed the sentences from other years where the same issue has been debated and ratified.

The minimum condition, as has been reiterated since 1994, is that the cameras do not focus directly on the houses of third parties; thus becoming an invasion of privacy.

In addition, the possibility of having the devices for security reasons is protected. Especially when they do not have a greater capacity to interfere in the sphere of privacy of neighboring houses or businesses.

“It is the criterion of this Court that, to verify the violation of fundamental rights in cases of placement of security cameras, these must be placed in a position that invades the most intimate space of people, as is usually their home,” they pointed out.

Overlooking the street

For the magistrates of the Constitutional Court, there is no major problem if the focus of the cameras is the street and it is incidental that other houses appear in the images.

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“It is verified that there is a video camera in the respondent’s house, no less true is that from the evidence provided by the defendant it is appreciated that said camera is focused towards the outside of his property; above all, towards the street, that is, towards the public thoroughfare”, states the sentence on the specific complaint by the Desamparados woman.

In the analysis of the case, it was highlighted that the cameras had already helped detect a robbery.

The complete Court resolution, Nº 28047 – 2021 issued on December 17, 2021, can be read here.

The Constitutional Court

The role of the “Constitutional Court,” in Costa Rica is to oversee the protection of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and international law instruments ratified by Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court is located on Calle Morenos, 100 meters South of the church of Perpetuo Socorro, Sabana Sur
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The Court provides services 24 hours a day, all year long, so that it can receive petitions at any time, without the need of a formal process or lawyer.



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