I live in a student housing block. It used to be an office building. My room is located on the first floor in a narrow corridor that also functions as kitchens, with one kitchen on each side of a door, separating the corridor. We have two kitchens shared among around ten people. We also share two bathrooms and two showers.
At each entrance of the building there are surveillance cameras. In the lobby, there’s five cameras. When I got back home after bouldering yesterday, I notice two brand new surveillance cameras, one on each side of the door separating the corridor, facing the “kitchen” spaces. One is placed just outside the door to my room.
To me it feels like a violation of privacy, so I’m wondering: Am I overreacting, or should I try to do something (I’m not thinking about destruction of private property, I’m thinking more about complaining to the landlord/janitor) here? I am moving out, because it thoroughly sucks living here, but due to summer vacation I’ll probably have to wait until September. This is icing on the cake of suck, though.
As far as I remember, there is nothing in the contract about surveillance, by the way.
I would say that it would be an admirable thing to note your objections with the people who have the authority to place and remove cameras. The fact you’re moving out means you won’t have to deal with long-term blowback. And someone moving in with cameras already in place might me more likely to believe that objecting is futile.
Honestly, I don’t see the big deal here. The cameras are in a common area, and I’m going with the wild assumption that the property owners put them up as a security measure rather than to monitor the comings and goings of the residents. Now, if cameras suddenly appear in your bedroom or bathroom, that’s another story…
I think one factor in making it seem intrusive is that we all have rooms, not apartments. That space/narrow corridor is part of our living space even if it is shared among us. It’s not public - it’s for the 10 residents in this area of the building, and it is separated from the lobby, which is public. I’m also having a hard time figuring out what kind of security this is supposed to provide… Making sure nobody clogs the drain, or is caught in the act?
Universities suffer a lot of damage in dorms, especially the common areas, as children think ‘it isn’t MINE’ and vandalize or are just plain careless with the property. Given how the expense of cameras and surveillance recording equipment has come down, it only makes sense to install a couple of thousand $$$ of cameras to prevent or catch the culprits after the fact and make them pay for it.
If it isn’t in your room or pointed at a toilet, no one’s privacy is being violated. They own that building and you live there under their terms, and they have every right to protect their own property.