Camera Use Policy

Camera Use Policy

Sponsor:

Office of Safety and Security

Contact:

Director of Safety and Security

Category:

Safety and Security

Number:

1200.013

Effective Date:

29/2021/4

Implementation History:

First draft 2021

Keywords:

Facilities, camera, security, safety, information security, user access.

Background Information:

Purpose

Empire State College recognizes that safeguarding the personal welfare of its students, employees and visitors is of paramount importance. In an effort to discourage those behaviors which threaten personal safety or the potential loss of campus resources, selective use of video surveillance is utilized at designated SUNY Empire  buildings.

Definitions

Campus or Campuses - Any college owned, leased, licensed or operated space, facility, property, grounds, equipment, motor vehicle or building.

Employee - Any employee of Empire State College or its Affiliated Entities and its subcontractors who are issued Empire State College identification cards.

College -  Includes all Empire State College locations.

College Security Camera System - The collection of cameras owned by the College used to advance the safety and security of the campus community, along with the related infrastructure and software needed to store and access the images recorded by the cameras.

Empire State College Community - The College students, faculty, College and College-related Organization staff, vendors, visitors and guests who regularly or periodically occupy and/or utilize the campuses of the College.

Private Areas - Areas such as bathrooms, showers, or clothe changing area.

Public Area - An area open for public use where the expectation of privacy is not violated by what could normally be observed.

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy - An expectation of privacy generally recognized by society and in certain circumstances or protected by law.

Security Camera Material - The recordings produced by the cameras and retained by the software and hardware within the College Security Camera System.

Video Surveillance Camera - A camera device that is capable of capturing viewable images (not audio) and transferring such images to a data storage system. Image capture may use any technological format.

Statements

Empire State College reserves the right to place video surveillance cameras on campuses where necessary and appropriate. The College respects the privacy of the campus community and strives to balance that privacy against the safety needs of the Empire State College Community as a whole.  The College employs a College Security Camera System to deter crime, identify potential criminal activity, investigate criminal activity and violations of applicable policies, procedures, rules, regulations and other oversight requirements applicable to the College and to enhance the safety, security and quality of life for the Empire State College Community.

This policy does not apply to cameras used covertly by the Office of Safety and Security or law enforcement agencies for criminal surveillance as governed by applicable local, state and federal laws.

Video surveillance cameras are to be operated by employees of the Office of Safety and Security, or others authorized to do so, only for reasons directly connected to their employment.

Applicability of Policy: All members of the campus community shall be aware of this policy including students, faculty, staff and third parties.

Camera Usage

Empire State College will utilize the College Security Camera System in public areas of the campuses to enhance the safety, security and quality of life for the College community in a manner consistent with applicable local, state and federal laws.

A. Intended/Authorized Use

  1. Investigations – To assist in the investigation of potential criminal acts and violations and enforcement of local, state and federal laws including State University of New York and Empire State College policies, procedures, rules, regulations and other applicable oversight requirements.
  2. Critical incident response – To assist responders in the safe and effective deployment of resources during a critical incident or other applicable event.
  3. Alarm verification – To assist responders in determining the nature of intrusion alarms, exit door controls, hold-up and panic alarms.
  4. Crowd management – To assist in determining crowd activity and volume during events or in areas of high pedestrian or vehicle traffic. These areas can include: campus grounds, parking lots, roadways, bus stops and recreational areas.
  5. Verification of building access – To assist in verifying the condition of building access points as well as identification of individuals gaining access to the College.
  6. Property protection – To verify the security of building perimeters, entrances, lobbies, corridors, receiving docks, special storage areas, laboratories, cashier locations, ATM/CVC machines and emergency telephones.

Real-time monitoring of cameras within the Empire State College Security Camera System is neither implied nor guaranteed.

B. Prohibited Use

  1. Profiling – The practice of targeting individuals based on characteristics including, but not limited to: race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religion or other protected classifications is prohibited.
  2. Personal interest – The Empire State College Security Camera System shall not be used to serve private interests, nor to satisfy personal curiosity.
  3. Privacy – The Empire State College Security Camera System shall not be used to interfere with an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy without legitimate cause and appropriate authorization as required by law.

C. Cameras Exempt from this Policy

  1. The following are not part of the Empire State College Security Camera System and are therefore not governed by this policy.
    1. Police use of in-car video or body-worn cameras while on College property.
    2. Cameras used covertly by Empire State College Office of Safety & Security or other law enforcement agency for criminal surveillance as governed by applicable local, state and federal laws.
    3. Academic use of video cameras for educational purposes, video cameras used for journalism or private video cameras owned and operated by individual members of the College community.
    4. Video cameras or webcams established temporarily or permanently by the College for reasons unrelated to surveillance activity, such as remote monitoring of facility construction to ascertain project progress, campus marketing, public relations initiatives, or fundraising activities.
    5. Surveillance cameras that are owned by vendors or contractors of the College or College-related organizations that are installed within their equipment.

D. Installation and Placement of Cameras

  1. The College reserves the right to place video cameras on its campuses in public areas where necessary and appropriate for the purposes outlined in Section A. Intended/Authorized Use.
  2. All video cameras on campus, other than those specifically described in Section C. Cameras Exempt from this Policy, may only be installed with the written authorization of the Office of Safety & Security and shall be installed as part of the College Security Camera System.
  3. The process and guidelines for decisions regarding installation of new video cameras in the College Security Camera System is included in the Requesting Camera Installation section of this policy below.
  4. Prior to the approval of any plan for new construction or renovation, the Office of Safety & Security, in conjunction with the Office of Facilities and the Office of Information Technology, shall review the project and determine if cameras are required.

 E. Notification of College Community

  1. This policy shall be made available to students, faculty, staff and visitors and be referenced in appropriate publications to inform the College community that cameras may be utilized on College properties.

F. Camera System Access 

  1. Only members of the Empire State College Office of Safety & Security, or others authorized to do so as part of their job duties shall have access to the College Security Camera System for use consistent with Section A. Intened/Authorized Use.

G. Security Camera Material

  1. The security camera material produced by the College Security Camera System are records of Empire State College Office of Safety & Security.
  2. Authorization for use, duplication or release of records shall be obtain through the college’s process for Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests. The Records Access Officer will respond to requests with consultation from counsel and the Director of Safety & Security. 
  3. The Office of Safety & Security shall oversee the storage and maintenance of all security camera material, making all reasonable efforts to ensure the integrity of the material obtained through the College Security Camera System. All reasonbale efforts will be made to maintain security camera material for a minimum of thirty (30) days. 
  4. Any activity observed by a person reviewing security camera material that is, or may reasonably be, criminal in nature shall be immediately reported to the Office of Safety & Security. 
  5. No alterations of any recorded material by the College Security Camera System shall be made, with the exception of those permitted in the procedures promulgated in this policy.

Requesting Camera Installation

1. All requests to install a camera in or on a SUNY Empire owned, rented, or leased property, must be made to the Office of Safety & Security utilizing the Request for Camera Installation Form (Appendix A).

  1. All inquiries shall include specific security concerns regarding the requested location.
  2. Requests for camera services will result in a security review which will be conducted by the Office of Safety & Security to determine the needs of that location and a recommended remediation strategy, if necessary.
  3. The Office of Facilities shall request a security review during the planning stage of all new construction and renovation projects for the purpose of determining camera placement during construction.
  4. In assessing requests, the Office of Safety & Security shall consult the Office of Information Technology Services and additional departments, as necessary.
  5. The Office of Safety & Security will respond in writing to all requests for the placement of a camera within thirty (30) days of receipt of such request, barring extenuating circumstances.
  6. If the Office of Safety & Security denies a camera placement request, a written appeal can be directed to the Director of Operations.
  7. All appeals must include the original written request as well as the written response by the Office of Safety & Security, in addition to any additional justification for the placement request.

2. If camera placement is a component of a recommended remediation strategy, the Office of Safety & Security will evaluate and determine the exact placement of such camera or cameras in accordance with the following guidelines. 

  1. Cameras will be installed in locations which contribute to the safety and security of the College community.
  2. Cameras may not be installed in private areas of the campus that don’t meet the criteria desribed in Section C. Cameras Exempt from this Policy.
  3. Cameras shall not be intentionally directed in a manner to infringe on an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
  4. If a camera is mistakenly directed in such a manner, a request shall be made by the affected party or other College official to the Office of Safety & Security to review and evaluate the camera placement. 
  5. Empty, dummy, or placebo cameras are prohibited.

If any staff or student observes a camera location infringing on the reasonable expectation of privacy of any member of the College community, the Office of Safety & Secuirity shall be immediately notified so the camera placement can be evaluated.

Requesting User Access to the College Security Camera System

  1. All requests to receive user access to the College Security Camera System must be made to the Office of Safety & Security utilizing the Security Camera System Access and Compliance Form (Appendix B).
  2. All appeals must include the original written request as well as the written response by the Office of Safety & Security in addition to any additional justification for the access request.
  3. The Office of Safety & Security shall ensure that all persons who receive user access to the College Security Camera System review this policy and receive training in the effective, legal, and ethical use accessing the system.
  4. Each person granted user access to the College Security Camera System must comply with the terms contained in the Security Camera System Access and Compliance Form (Appendix B). Such agreement shall be maintained by the Office of Safety & Security and will remain in effect and enforceable throughout such person’s employment by or relationship with the College, or until such authorization is terminated prior to the end of that person’s employment/relationship with the College. It is the responsibility of the authorized user to review authorization with the Director of Safety & Security if their title within the college changes, or the scope of their work is amended in their current position. The Director of Safety & Security will maintain a log of all employees with approved access, and the details of access as provided on the Security Camera System Access and Compliance Form (Appendix B).
  5. The Office of Safety & Security shall assess requests for user access to the College Security Camera System based on Section A. Intended/Authorized Use.
  6. The Office of Safety & Security shall respond to all requests for user access within thirty (30) days of receipt of the request.
  7. If the Office of Safety & Security denies a Security Camera System access request, a written appeal can be directed to the Senior Director of Operations.

Video/Storage Media of Security Camera Material

To protect the integrity of Security Camera Footage derived from the College Security Camera System, alterations require approval by the Office of Safety & Security and are limited to those intended to protect the privacy of non-participants in an incident, or to produce a still image for a lawful purpose.

The College Security Camera System Footage shall be maintained and stored by the Office of Safety & Security, in conjunction with the Office of Information Technology.

Maintenance and Testing of Cameras and Equipment

The Office of Safety & Security, in conjunction with the Office of Information Technology, shall ensure the College Security Camera System is maintained in proper working order.

All maintenance and repairs will be performed by technicians with a demonstrated expertise in video surveillance systems.

The Office of Safety & Security, in conjunction with the Office of Information Technology, shall ensure that tests of all cameras are conducted and repairs made, as required.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Statutes

Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution

New York State Constitution, Article I, Section 12

New York State Public Officers Law, Article 6, 84 & 90 (Freedom of Information Law)

Article 690 and 700 of the New York State Criminal Procedure Law

 

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

Related SUNY Empire Policies

Computer Use Statement Policy - Students

 Computer Use Statement Policy - Faculty and Staff 

Appendices 

Request for Video Surveillance Installation Form (file 40kB)

Security Camera System Access and Compliance Form (file 42kB)