Queens lawmaker’s bill to punish snoopers with video cameras gets governor’s signature

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A Bayside-based lawmaker’s push to protect homeowners from invasive surveillance has been realized.

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein announced on Aug. 16 that his unauthorized surveillance bill was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The legislation gives New York homeowners the ability to sue a neighbor for invasion of privacy should he or she record recreational activities in their backyard with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm or threaten their neighbor’s property.

Unlawful surveillance was made a crime in 2003, according to Braunstein. However, the protections only establish criminal penalties when the recording occurs in a setting such as a bathroom or changing room.

This piece of legislation takes the protections a step further.

“It is disturbing that some individuals have been purposely filming their neighbors, including young children, in their backyards,” Braunstein said. “Since I introduced this legislation in the Assembly, I have heard from people around the state who have been victimized by this practice. This law will provide families with legal recourse in the event that someone tries to invade the privacy they deserve in their backyards.”

Governor Cuomo also spoke out in favor of the lawmaker’s efforts to protect the right to privacy.

“Everyone should be able to feel safe in their own home and in their own backyard,” Cuomo said. “This legislation will crack down on disturbing behavior and give New Yorkers legal recourse and peace of mind in order to protect their privacy and potentially their own personal safety.”

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