New York State Police arrested a 20-year-old Albany man for Unlawful Surveillance in the Second Degree. State Police of Clifton Park arrested Bryan M. Constanzo recently. On February 18, 2023, NYSP received a complaint that Constanzo allegedly recorded someone in private without their permission or knowledge. He allegedly filmed the victim in a compromising situation without their consent. Constanzo was arrested and processed at SP Clifton Park and is due back in Albany City Court on April 7, 2023.

Can You Legally Record Someone With Your Camera In New York Without Their Permission?

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Can you use your camera to record someone without their permission?  We see all of these videos of random, seemingly unknowing people going viral for doing all types of weird and crazy things.  But, can you get in legal trouble if you post a video of someone being a 'Karen' (Karens love to say that they don't give permission to you recording them) or even dancing in a parking lot, without their permission?

According to Legal Beagle, the short answer is 'yes',

New York State law gives people a right to record via audio or video on their own property, at their place of work and in public spaces. However, they must consider the privacy of others when doing so. This right does not extend to dressing rooms, bathrooms or other places that are deemed private.

According to N.Y. Penal Law § 250.45,

A person is guilty of unlawful surveillance in the second degree when:


For his or her own, or another person's amusement, entertainment, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing a person, he or she intentionally uses or installs, or permits the utilization or installation of an imaging device to surreptitiously view, broadcast or record a person dressing or undressing or the sexual or other intimate parts of such person at a place and time when such person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without such person's knowledge or consent.

There are more instances when video recording becomes illegal. You can see them here.

Photo by Patrick on Unsplash
Photo by Patrick on Unsplash

The law applies to recording a person in public, at work, or in private. A person's backyard may be considered a place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. In 2017, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Backyard Surveillance Law,

Any owner or tenant of residential real property shall have a private right of action for damages against any person who installs or affixes a video imaging device on property adjoining such residential real property for the purpose of video taping or taking moving digital images of the recreational activities which occur in the backyard of the residential real property without the written consent thereto of such owner and/or tenant with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, or with intent to threaten the person or property of another person.

***This article is not intended to give legal advice or counsel.

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