Home Security system


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I have a next door neighbor that has some kind of infared camera system all around their house. They have video tapes of us tresspassing on their property which is impossible. Does anyone know if these systems can be altered,(pictures)? I have called many local security systems and they say it possible. Their camera's are constantly filming and they have been doing this since the Hurricane 9/04. and the work we are doing on our house. We are not on good terms with these neighbors and apparently want us to move and not rebuild. They have sent me dvd's with blurred images of what they say is my husband tresspassing on their property. And want to take us to court over this. Can anyone help me. Thanks.
Don't tresspass on their property, and you shouldn't have much to worry about. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know how much of a runaround they could give you in the legal system with no credible evidence, but I don't think their camera system changes the situation much if you're not doing anything wrong.

If you're concerned about them seeing you on your own property, put up a privacy fence. As far as I know, it's no more illegal for them to run surveillance around their house than it is for them to peek out of their windows.
If you have not been trespassing, then I wouldn't worry about any trespassing charges. Yes, pictures and movies can be altered, just look at the computer generated stuff on TV and in the theaters. Even if you were trespassing, I don't know the legal process of of using blurry camera images as evidence, etc.

AFAIK, the legality of person A using a camera mounted on person A's property to do surveillance of person B on person B's private property is very suspect. IMHO, what I can see of my neighbors when I glance out the window is very different than if I was using cameras 24/7 to spy on them and invade their privacy.
Thanks for your replys. I don't care if someone uses security camera's for their protection. but when it invades my privacy it makes me nervous and mad that you can't do anything about it, especially when they have 30 pictures of me and my grandkids, all under the age of 5. The sheriff tells me anyone can take a picture of you in your yard its not against the law. But 30 pictures come on. I need to find out if a computer system can alter pictures taken from these security camera's and how? If theres a program? I guess i"ll find out when we go to court this month if their pictures hold up. I'll let you know. Thanks Cher21
I wouldn't like to be in your situation, being taped by your neighbor.

As for if the pictures can be altered, the answer is yes, just as WayneW said. To add a little more information, pretty much any amateur can alter a digital picture, but it would be obvious to the casual observer. To make it hard to tell takes a little more work, but if you were suspicious it had been altered, you or a judge could still probably tell unless the person who did it was quite the expert. Editing video would be even harder, but can also be done. Adobe among others makes software that can edit video and still photos. Heck, even MSPaint, on nearly every windows computer can edit pictures (but a poor job).

What are they taking you to court for? Not that any of us are lawyers and competent to give legal advice.

As for them taking video and photo of you and your family, my guess is that there's nothing you can do if they do that. BUT, if they are giving you pictures of you with your grandkids, they're no longer just passively acting on their own property. They're harrassing you. That may be grounds for a restraining order forbidding them to contact you. Also good stuff to get documented in case they did do something creepy or try to take further action. You can show that they're being weird.

Again, I'm no lawyer, but those are things to think about asking a professional.
Why would they send you dvds with pictures of your husband, but blurred out? If it was really him, then I can't imagine why they would have blurred the image, sounds to me like they are just harassing you. It sucks to live next to neighbors like that. Maybe it's time to contact the local news channels and see if anyone is willing to help you out.
Video can be altered but unless it is done with some pretty high tech equipment, you can tell and it won't hold up in court (any expert can also tell). My suggestion is similar to those above, don't go on his property. I would also suggest taping your property (if you have the means). Odds are VERY good that if he's trying to get your to leave, he is trespassing on your property at various times. If you don't want him taping you with an IR camera, shine a light at the lens of the camera at night when you will be out an about. The camera will only get the light. You can even use a red light (which isn't quite so obvious), the camera will pick it up just the same, the more power the better - like a brake light on a car.

Sounds like he's a pain. Since I already tape my exterior, it's easy for me to suggest it but your tapes can serve as a great counter to any "evidence" he comes up with. It would also be helpful to tape the area he is showing you pictures of so you have counter info. With motion settings, it doesn't take much memory if it's an area without a lot of traffic.

I doubt you have much to worry about but if you are concerned about it, you might also consider talking to the sheriff about his harrassment and ask his (or her) opinion on what you should do to ease the tension. That would show you are just trying to get along.
domingo3 said:
What are they taking you to court for? Not that any of us are lawyers and competent to give legal advice.
I'm a lawyer...but not one in your state (unless you're in TN), and I can't give you advice without fully knowing the exact details. And I am not an expert in general property disputes. (I'm just starting out, and plan to specialize in Intellectual Property law) However, from my own experience in digital surveillance, I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to alter a video. Although the tapes could be altered, I doubt that they did alter it. Changing each frame to add a person is very difficult and time consuming. More likely, they staged it or mistook your husband for someone else, or they used footage from a time when he was permitted to enter the property. Either way, a jury would be the one to decide that evidence is not what it seems to be.

Regardless, in a first time tresspass civil law case, they will probably just get nominal damages unless some damage was done to your property (likely a few dollars, definitely less than the court fees.) They will be able to get an injunction against future trespasses as well if they are worried about you trespassing on their property.

Many states do not have laws against recording footage that you expect to be private, but some do. If you are concerned about the recorded video being an invasion of your privacy, you really need to talk to a lawyer that is familiar with laws of your state about countersuing...possibly on grounds of intrusion of seclusion. Its definitely an issue that differs from state to state, and therefore you need to talk to an attorney.

I have infrared cameras, but they are aimed only at my driveway and my own property, and their intent is for my own personal security. I happen to catch some of my neighbor's property in the video as well, but it is perfectly legal . If your neighbors cameras are intended to protect their own property, then they are probably okay. If they are intended for spying on you, then they might not be acceptable. Most likely your neighbors can't use activity on your own property against you based on their footage...but once again the law in this area is new, and each state is different.
Get a lawyer. It sounds like a scare tactic to me. If they are threatening to take you to court, why haven't they? If they continue, you could conceivably call it harassment and get relief. But a lawyer will know.

There could be so many details that make a difference here that we just don't know. Laws about tresspassing and video taping in different areas vary.

For example, in south Florida, many homes are in zero-lot-line developments. Meaning that the outside wall of one home is the lot line for the neighbor's property. In most cases where there are zero-lot-lines, it is perfectly legal for the neighbor to "tresspass" to maintain their property during reasonable hours, ie. to paint their wall, for example. And it's usually all in the deed, homeowner's rights or association by-laws.

So get a lawyer and then you'll know where you stand. It'd be worth it for peace of mind. It sucks when neighbors don't get along. I've been there, too.
To add some technical details, there are some professional monitoring systems that add a watermark or hidden code to the digitized image that makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to alter the video. I mean, difficult without damaging this watermark.

I wonder why they do this. One possibility is that they want their video evidence to stand as solid evidence in court. So compared to this type of video any system without this security measure is not so secure. The probabily of tampering is higher. As they said, you will need a lawyer, but you can use this technical knowledge to your favor in court.
elcano said:
I wonder why they do this. One possibility is that they want their video evidence to stand as solid evidence in court.
Its exactly why... it removes "reasonable doubt", and is especially necessary if a prosecutor wanted to use the video for evidence. A defense attorney will argue that those of us with our own digital surveillance systems are also techies that may know how to change footage, so a watermark helps prevent accusations of falsified evidence.
GeoVision is a popular, feature rich PC-DVR board based system that uses watermarking to protect the recorded video stream.

The video is just about alterproof unless you work for folks with company names composed of 3 letter....NSA, CIA etc.