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Ding-Dong! Who’s there? Oh, Everybody Already Knows!

Your doorbell might be violating someone’s right to privacy, maybe even your own.

Yes…you read that correctly…your doorbell.

With the advent of “smart” doorbells, or doorbells with cameras, speakers, and microphones that can alert you when someone approaches your door, discussions over whether this technology violates the rights of passersby begin to heat up.

There’s no debate as to whether you can video tape people who enter your doorway and ring your bell. Of course you can! People have no reasonable expectation of privacy when they’re out in the general public, let alone when they come onto your property.

Issues arise based on what happens with the videos after you review them. Teams of people you’ve never met, and people you certainly wouldn’t want watching videos of your home, family, and guests, may be reviewing these tapes. Smart doorbell providers have been recorded (see what we did there?) viewing these videos independently and sharing them with third-parties.

What’s more is that these smart doorbells, just like any piece of technology, are capable of being hacked. If someone hacks your smart doorbell, you expose anyone that walks or talks in front of that camera to whoever has control of your camera. That includes family, friends, and even you.

While smart technology is undoubtedly the way of the future, and could certainly increase your safety, you should be aware that it’s your friends and family that these smart doorbells will monitor the most. With facial recognition being implemented in these devices, and companies sharing their data with anyone willing to pay for it, it could happen that a friend or family member wrongfully end up on a “watch list” because of underdeveloped technology. Whether you, the doorbell’s owner, could be liable for damages flowing from that is still yet to be seen.

So with any good thing, there are risks, and you should be aware of the risks associated with smart technology, including doorbells. Here at Lardiere McNair, we want to help protect you, your family, and your business. As such, we will continue to monitor the law and public policy shifts associated with not only smart doorbells, but smart technology as a whole. Stay tuned to our weekly blog for more updates.

Jordan Kennedy is an Associate Attorney at Lardiere McNair, LLC. To read more about our firm, please visit www.lmcounsel.com.
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