Personally liability of a fake security cam

Based on the thread about parking I mentioned that once a week someone will use our driveway as a road. Considering we have kids that play out front I’m concerned about it. I half-jokingly said to Mrs Cad that I should put up a sign at the end of the driveway i.e. where it goes into the side street that says “Private Driveway. Through Traffic Not Allowed. License Plate Being Recorded.”

She starts talking about how fake security cameras open up companies to all sorts of liability and companies will be sued if someone is assaulted in a stairwell and there is no video of it because the security cam was fake/not connected and that we can be sued [how she made the jump between a business (public access?) and private property I’m not sure] because what if somebody had a flat and wanted the video of it?

So what is my liability if on my own property I claim to have a security camera or even install a fake one?

Not a lawyer, but not sure what they could reasonably sue over.

When I did the truck gate security thing, we had 11 cameras in or pointed at the gate area. There was a massive sign saying that there was both audio and video recording, but there was no audio recording equipment (ie, that part was a lie). However, having used the mere existence of the sign to great effect when threatened with violence in the middle of the night…

I know it doesn’t answer the question you asked, but you could reword the sign to say “License Plate May Be Recorded”.

Even as you worded it, it doesn’t say the license plate is being recorded using video (maybe you’re writing it down). Or even mention a video camera, for that matter. If you just happen to have something that looks like it might be a camera, well, that doesn’t have anything to do with your sign.


Have you seen the signs the Westboro Baptist Church puts up? I’m pretty sure you would have no liability for the sign you describe.

Unless you’ve entered into a legal contract with someone to provide video security surveillance for them you’re not breaking any laws using fake cameras and could not be held liable for anything. Even if you were said company and you knowingly used fake cameras you’d only face civil charges, not criminal.

The more likely scenario I would expect from fake cameras would be your neighbors complaining about privacy because of them not knowing the cameras were fake.

This thread may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.


Companies might owe a different duty to folk invited/permitted/expected on their property, than you do towards trespassers.

Suppose somebody gets murdered there-their relatives could sue, alleging that if the security camera was real, help would have been summoned and the crime prevented.
Yes, its a stretch…but it is a possibility.

They would have great difficulty proving any form of liability. You have no duty or legal requirement to be monitoring said cameras even if they were real. Hence they have no legally enforcable expectation that help would be summoned. Any more than they could sue the entire neighborhood for not looking out their windows and calling the police.

I have to disagree.

That would be generally be a civil offense by OMISSION, failure to act. While there may be such a civil/criminal duty at times, none exists here in the example.

Premises liabilty law generally states, a business invitee is owed a duty of care, BUT, the business is NOT an total insurer of thier safety.

Man, after dealing w/ lawyers all day, I should have known better than to jump into a thread with a lawbuff. :smack:

Don’t feel bad, you were right, I just expanded on it!

Since the question has been answered, I’ll address the underlying problem, and suggest that a speedbump might also contribute to a solution – it both makes it less convenient to go down the driveway, it also makes it more clear that it’s not a public road (for those who care).

Say an employee chose to use the stairwell by themselves instead of taking the elevator with a companion because they relied on a sign promising special security in the stairwell. An assailant who knows the sign is false then attacks them in the stairwell.

Could not the employee have a cause of action for their detrimental reliance on the employer’s assurance (by means of posting the sign) that the stairwell was being monitored?

Real life legal questions belong in IMHO rather than GQ. Moved.

samclem, moderator

Security camera systems have gotten so cheap that I don’t see the point of fake cameras. Running a cable to the camera is not that much more difficult that mounting the fake camera alone. A cheap system from Q-See or one of the low end companies can run as little as $399 from CostCo.

I’ve handled plenty of cases where security cameras were not working and have been able to get settlements much easier because the side with the non-working cameras viewed it as a liability. But these were places people were invited and tripped or were attacked.

Not in the US. Employers are immune from suit in tort by employees for injuries caused by negligence under workers’ compensation immunity.