Expectation of Privacy - Part One

United States
October 14, 2015 1:22pm CST
If you own your property, do you have an expectation of privacy when you are in your yard or house? Does it matter where you live as to how much privacy you expect, for example a duplex or house in the city versus a farm in the country? Does it matter what continent you live on, for example India versus the United States? If you are within your own home, do you expect that you can walk around naked or do other things without having to worry about whether or not you are being video taped? Personally, I think that if I am on my own land, especially if there are no neighbors in sight, or in my own house, then I have an expectation of privacy.
34 people like this
25 responses
@Susan2015 (20580)
• United States
14 Oct 15
That's one reason we have privacy fences up. For the privacy. We are in a subdivision right outside of the city a few miles away.
4 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
I would love to be able to put privacy fences up right now, although I doubt that would take care of the issue. I do live in the country, though, specifically so that I do not have to deal with neighbors and issues like this. The one camera is fifteen foot in the air and almost certainly on my property, so that one will be dealt with as soon as the people can get here to do the land survey. The other two are not on my property but also up high, so I am not sure a privacy fence would work not to mention that we have two and a half acres of land, so the cost would be outrageous. We do have a large sign blocking one of the cameras, though.
2 people like this
@Susan2015 (20580)
• United States
14 Oct 15
@purplealabaster We have a security camera up. It lets us know if someone comes in the yard and it shows the street. It shows the front of a few of the people's houses across the street too. Only the front.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
@Susan2015 I do not think I would mind that, especially if it only showed the front of my house along the street. My house is set back off the road and the property is lined with trees designed specifically for privacy and limited visibility from the street or surrounding land.
1 person likes this
@PhredWreck (6051)
14 Oct 15
Depends on if the cops have a surveillance warrant or not.
3 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
Apparently you do not need a surveillance warrant ... or maybe you do if you are in law enforcement. That brings up another great question, though, do the same laws apply to us as to law enforcement or are we allowed to do things that law enforcement is not allowed to do? I would think it would be the other way around, but maybe not.
3 people like this
14 Oct 15
@purplealabaster It would be illegal for anyone to videotape me or attempt to videotape me in my house unless I was leaving my curtains wide open.
2 people like this
14 Oct 15
@purplealabaster If the camera is placed hidden, and is pointing towards an area that could be legally considered to have an expectancy of privacy, then the person operating it would be violating the law...unless the area you live in has laws allowing it. And distance really doesn't matter if you leave the drapes wide open. Your expectation of privacy becomes a moot point. Every state has different laws dealing with it, to be honest.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
Yes, you should be able to expect privacy if you are in your own home, or even in your back yard. no matter where you live.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
I think the exact same way, especially if you live in the country. If you live in the city, then it is more difficult to expect privacy. However, I would still expect a certain amount of privacy in my own home, even if I could not get it in my own yard. My parents own a pool, and they like to go skinny dipping in it. We used to do that in the pool they had when they lived near us as well. In fact, we let the little ones run around in just their undies rather than a bathing suit, because nobody was close enough to know or care.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
@TexanTornado The neighbor put up cameras and has been filming us without our knowledge. At least one of the cameras is almost certainly on my property, but local law enforcement say that I have no expectation of privacy, even in my own yard or home. However, they do say that if I can prove the camera is on my property, then they can arrest him for trespassing, which is a misdemeanor.
3 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
@purplealabaster Do what?? What happened to 'invasion of privacy'? I think I would have to speak to someone else on the matter. There has to be something you can do about it. Even if it's along the lines of video without your knowledge. I know they have laws against it. And if you have children, then it can be even more laws against it.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (65735)
• Pleasant Hill, California
14 Oct 15
I certainly expect privacy at my cabin in Montana. Here in California, it's apartment living, and not much privacy.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
So if you found surveillance cameras monitoring your cabin, then you would feel that you had a right to have them taken down, right? I believe that there is definitely a difference between apartment living and cabin living. In a city, even if you own your home and do not rent out part of it, houses are still very close together. There is almost no privacy, which is one of the biggest things that I dislike about the city.
3 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
16 Oct 15
@purplealabaster It depends. I have no close neighbor in my actual house, and it is a reason why I want to move, as nobody would be able to see a burglar forcing a door from the street, and I have had too much burglary attempts.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Oct 15
@topffer That seems strange to me in a city. What you are talking about sounds more like the suburbs, where you are not necessarily right up close to your neighbor. I guess it is a good thing if your neighbors can see when you are concerned about burglars.
2 people like this
@Rollo1 (16689)
• Boston, Massachusetts
15 Oct 15
In your own home, with plenty of shades and blinds and curtains on the windows, you should definitely be able to expect privacy. Outside, well you can only expect so much privacy because no fence or line of trees will provide perfect cover.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Oct 15
You have a good point that the trees and fencing will not provide perfect cover. I guess that making sure that blinds and shades are always drawn will also work. However, it is a dark and gloomy way to live if you are not allowed to at least part the blinds and let in the sun.
2 people like this
@Rollo1 (16689)
• Boston, Massachusetts
15 Oct 15
@purplealabaster If the sun is shining, it is brighter outside than in and it's not so easy to see into windows from the street. But if it's dark outside and you have your lights on, then better put on the clothes.
2 people like this
• Midland, Michigan
16 Oct 15
@purplealabaster Shame on them for even considering that. Problem is they could upload their pics to places you'd not want to be without your knowledge. It's hard to believe your city allows such mischief.
2 people like this
@kizzyB (180)
• United Kingdom
14 Oct 15
Someone would have to be pretty darned bored to pay any attention to what I was up to. I'd hate to be filmed without my knowledge...but how would I know?
2 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
If you found a video camera ... or several video cameras ... pointed directly at your house and yard, then that might be a great big red flag.
2 people like this
@Raelove (16813)
• Saco, Maine
14 Oct 15
For 15 years, I lived in a mobile home that sat high enough up on a wooded hillside that someone would have had to drive up the steep driveway and then stand on a ladder to see inside. Needless to say, I was able to do pretty much do anything there and no one was any the wiser. Then, I moved to a first-floor apartment in a small busy town right on the main drag with other houses just feet away on either side, and I'd FORGET that I hadn't drawn the blinds! I'd never had to do that in a very long time, and I found I hated it. So I moved back to the town where my home had been, and once again lived up high on the second floor over a garage in the woods where NO ONE can see inside. The whole privacy thing depends completely on where you are and how visible you are to someone on the outside. You can expect privacy, but in some instances, like in that small town, it is nonexistent.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Oct 15
That is also my opinion on the subject, but apparently that is not the law ... at least not around here. I live in the country, and I have only limited visibility with the neighbors on one side and none on the other unless I walk directly to the property line. There is a mountain in my backyard and a forest in front across the street. I would expect that I would have privacy not only in my yard (except the obviously visible parts) but also inside my house.
3 people like this
@rebelann (41254)
• El Paso, Texas
22 Oct 15
I definitely expect privacy, no one should ever come onto my land or into my home without an invitation from me, I even have a no trespassing sign on a post out front which TX law claims I would need to prevent intruders. Oh right, like that sign is gonna scare someone
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Oct 15
I think that each state or area might be different, but I know that in some areas as long as you have a driveway and path that leads to your house, then you are giving implied permission for people to enter your property. If they are on parts of your property other than the driveway or walkway, however, then they are trespassing.
1 person likes this
@rebelann (41254)
• El Paso, Texas
22 Oct 15
Yes, I think it's that way in suburbs @purplealabaster but I live in a rural community where no one can access my home at all, I have to go to the front gate if I want to let someone in. I love that I can ignore people if the come to the gate and I don't want to see them. Gets the goats of Jehovah witnesses.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Oct 15
@rebelann LOL - I live in the country as well, but it is not as rural as where you live. Well, there are some parts that are, even on my street, but my house is not one of them. Still, I have acres of land and no other houses close to me for a reason, and that reason is that I like and value my privacy! We want to move, and the one house that we like that we looked at is perfect in location. It is on a dirt road that is accessed by a paved but not well-traveled road. There is not another house in sight, and there is plenty of room to ride horses. The house itself needs a lot of work, though, but there are always compromises in life.
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
29 Oct 15
I used to live in a trailer and I didn't feel as if I had any privacy at all. People would cut through my yard all the time and walk right past my bedroom windows. People could see right into the house unless you kept the curtains closed all the time. The bus stop for the whole park was right in front of my house so there were a billion kids and parents there every single morning. When we moved into this house that was the first thing we noticed was how much privacy we had. I no longer had the fear that someone would walk by my window and see what I was doing, or see that I'm in my pajamas and bathrobe at 2 in the afternoon. I could put my kids on the bus while wearing my bathrobe and nobody but the bus driver would see me. I can never again move to a place with so little privacy again. But your question wasn't really about that. Yes, I expect privacy when I'm on my own property... but that doesn't mean I can go mow my lawn in my skivvies!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Oct 15
My question was actually about everything that you said, and you gave wonderful examples of the difference between living in two environments. I think that the proximity of neighbors definitely plays a part in how much privacy you might get, even if you have the right to expect more. I could never live that close to people, because it would drive me crazy. I want my privacy, and you certainly cannot get it when people live that close together as in a trailer park or apartment. I think that most trailers actually have more privacy than apartments, but there still is not much. LOL @ "that doesn't mean I can go mow my lawn in my skivvies". Skivvies are basically the same thing as a bikini, so you might get away with it, especially if you have the pretty, frilly type.
• United States
29 Oct 15
@purplealabaster Even if I were allowed to flaunt it, I wouldn't want to. I'm really self conscious and after 5 kids this is not a pretty sight anymore. I'm sure that when we make our decision I will share that information. Right now we're just working on getting better credit so that we can decide one way or the other what we're doing.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Oct 15
@katsmeow1213 Good luck with getting your credit back up. My sister had problems with her credit from her stupid ex-husband, and it took forever for her to get it back on the right track. I hope that you have more success.
@moffittjc (42985)
• Gainesville, Florida
18 Jan 16
I live in an apartment building that mostly houses college students. While there is limit to the amount of privacy we can expect since it is high-rise building, one would expect that there is at least some privacy behind the walls of your own home. The two things I have noticed about living here is: 1) the walls are paper thin, so you can practically hear everything your neighbors do (that can get very interesting at night); and 2) college students don't know how to close the blinds on their windows apparently. Without even trying, I often see more than I care to see just walking down the hall or up the stairs to my place! lol
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Jan 16
Yes, there is something about college that tends to lower people's inhibitions, and teenagers do not tend to have many inhibitions in the first place. The reasons that you listed are exactly the reasons why I could never live in an apartment building. I value my privacy, and I would not like hearing everything that other people do nor would I want them hearing everything that I do. I imagine one of the most embarrassing things that they would catch me doing is singing and dancing around the house while I am cleaning, especially since I am certainly not the best singer in the world.
@moffittjc (42985)
• Gainesville, Florida
18 Jan 16
@purplealabaster I am very fortunate that the two neighbors that border my place are both very quiet girls. One is in law school, so she studies ALL the time, and the other is in med school, so she is never home. Plus, when they both first moved in, I let them know right away that the walls were paper thin!
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Jan 16
@moffittjc That is probably a good thing to do right away. It saves a lot of time and embarrassment on everybody's part if you put it right out there. Then, if you hear stuff, you know that you were either "meant" to hear or they just do not care.
@PainsOnSlate (20254)
• Canada
21 Oct 15
I do expect to have privacy and i do have that. I live in a small town, in a neighborhood where there is space between houses but not acres. If I'm in the back yard or in my sun porch i can see both neighbors and part of both of their backyards. We live on a ravine so see nothing but forest behind us. The ravine was a big selling point when we bought it. The house inside is private. We have windows but we are surrounded by trees and you have to really try to see anyone inside or be on my porch looking in the door window and no body does that except friends coming to visit and salesmen (rarely).
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Oct 15
I live in the country and have acres. I thought I had privacy as well until I realized that the neighbor has surveillance cameras pointed at our house and yard. One of the cameras is almost certainly on my property, but I have to have a survey done to prove it before I can remove it. I don't know how well the cameras zoom or how much he can see, but the thought of him seeing anything really bothers me, especially since there is NO PART of his property that he can see with the one camera and very little (if any) part of his property he can see with one of the other two pointed in my direction.
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Oct 15
@purplealabaster have you asked him to remove or just move it? I wouldn't like a camera looking at me. I lived in the country when I was a child . You reminded me of an event that happened with tresspassing.. I hope you get some peace...
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Oct 15
@PainsOnSlate He will not move it, and he does not want me over on his property again "bothering him" or I will be trespassing. He does not even live there, so I have to catch him when he is there maintaining the property. I have absolutely no idea what his issue is, since I have lived here next to him for twenty years now and never had a problem until now. I was told by a friend that used to live there that they were moving, because he had cameras pointed at their children's bedrooms. My daughter is about the same age as their youngest was when they were having problems with him, so that could be the reason it is starting now after all these years.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (38213)
• United States
11 Dec 15
I think that is a realistic assumption and to be spied on should be illegal.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Dec 15
I also think it is a realistic assumption, especially if you make the effort to live in the country and have a house that is not near any neighbors and set back off the road for more privacy. It seems that local law enforcement do not share the same opinion, though. I suspect that if I pursue the issue, then there will be a different outcome, but that could cost a lot of money.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (38213)
• United States
11 Dec 15
@purplealabaster Are they spying from the air? These days they can use drones. I put a fence around my patio and a hedge along my yard, I do like privacy.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Dec 15
@BelleStarr No, he installed surveillance cameras on a utility pole, another pole/tree and a shed on his property, but they are all pointed at my house and yard. There is only one camera that is actually surveilling his property, and he does not even live there.
1 person likes this
@Beatburn (3912)
• Philippines
20 Oct 15
Same here. I can do anything I want as long as I'm in my property. As long as it doesn't shock my housemates.
1 person likes this
@Beatburn (3912)
• Philippines
21 Oct 15
@purplealabaster I've started to be more discreet when my daughters as around. Of course I parade in all glory when I'm alone or only the wife can see me.
1 person likes this
@Beatburn (3912)
• Philippines
22 Oct 15
@purplealabaster Indeed. Positive self-image and self-worth. We have to fight media and the obsession to look the same and dangerously thin.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Oct 15
@Beatburn I was talking with two relatives (at separate times) just the other day, but they both told me stories of how the media is "fat shaming" and talking badly about female celebrities. The worst part is that both of them thought the female celebrities (each was talking about different celebrities, so this is becoming a large problem) looked too thin originally, but they liked how the celebrities looked after the celebrity had gained ten or twenty pounds. They said that the celebrity looked good (in a physical sense) and also healthy at the higher weight. The media, however, was calling them fat and saying that they needed to lose a ton of weight and should talk to Jenny Craig and similar things.
1 person likes this
@PainsOnSlate (20254)
• Canada
4 Dec 15
Just curious...is there an update on this story? Is that camera still there?
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Dec 15
The cameras are still there. The one that I thought was on my property was about six inches over the line. That means that he certainly is not surveilling his property, but it also means that we cannot touch it. We found out that the pole it is on belongs to the power company, though, so they are currently working to remove it as they do not look kindly on people illegally attaching things to their poles. It turns out that we do not own as far over on the side as we originally figured, although all the area that I have been mowing is our property (we actually own more at the top than I thought but less towards the back as the line is slanted). However, we do own farther down in the back than I had realized, which means there is a structure he is using as a shed that is very close to the property line. The code enforcement officer requested a copy of the survey, and he will determine whether or not the neighbor has to move the structure. We think it there is a very good chance he will have to move it, and so does the code enforcement officer, which is why he requested the copy of the survey.
1 person likes this
• Canada
4 Dec 15
@purplealabaster Good news. I hope the camera gets removed and it should by the power company, Good luck with the shed. Thanks for the update.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Dec 15
@PainsOnSlate Thank you for asking. We are trying to go about this the legal way without actually involving the lawyer unless we have to. I already had to spend a ton of money on the survey just to prove that my land is mine, so I don't want to have to spend any more if I can go about it a different way, even if that way might take a little more time. The good thing is that most people are extremely helpful once they hear the situation. Even when they are not able to help themselves, they tend to offer suggestions as to how I might go about doing things to get the desired result. Of course, I still have the lawyer as backup, but he understands and supports us trying to go through channels that do not cost us any money, and he has made a few suggestions as well.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Nov 15
I think everyone has that and should have that.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Nov 15
I agree, especially if they are in their own home. It is quite creepy (to put it mildly) to think about someone watching you while you are in your own home.
• United States
16 Nov 15
@purplealabaster I think people living in cities have more of an opportunity of that happening. Besides if you keep your shades/blinds/curtains closed at night they can't see in.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Nov 15
@AbbyGreenhill That is true. I like having the shades and blinds open in the daytime, and I live in the country, so I imagined that I had privacy. We recently found that our neighbor had installed a surveillance camera on a utility pole on the property line, and it is pointed at our house. There is absolutely no part of his property that he can see in the camera, and I do not know how well he can or cannot see into the house. It is a good distance from the house, but cameras do have excellent zoom features these days. Fortunately, the utility company does not appreciate his addition to their pole, and they are going to either remove it themselves or make him remove it.
• United States
2 Dec 15
I have almost no expectation of privacy. My house is on a little hill and I have huge windows. I have solar blinds. This means I am invisible during the day, but quite visible in the evening when lights are on in the house. Bummer.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Dec 15
I love the look and all the light that houses with huge windows have, because they are so beautiful. However, I do not think that I would be able to live in one, because I would feel like I was in a fishbowl with everyone being able to look into my house. Even though I am in the country in a fairly private area, there are still too many spots along the property line where someone with a zoom lens on a camera or video recorder could get too "up close and personal", and I do not like that. If I had ten or more acres with my house surrounded by wooded area, though, then I think I might be comfortable enough to have that kind of house.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 16
@purplealabaster I certainly do feel like I live in a fishbowl. The only time I have privacy is if my sun blinds are down in the daytime. Then I can see out, but no one can see inside. At night, it us reversed. But the trade off is a glorious view of the mountains, valley and sea.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 16
@ElizabethWallace It sounds so beautiful that I might consider it. I just think that I would be too paranoid about people being able to see in, especially since I do not want to think about what I am doing or wearing all the time. Still, the allure of the view and the natural light (in the daytime, of course) might be enough for me to get over my uneasiness at being so exposed.
@jstory07 (67059)
• Roseburg, Oregon
18 Oct 15
I have a fenced back yard so I do not think any one should open the gate and just come in.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Oct 15
Yeah, I think that if someone opens your gate and comes in, then they can be arrested for trespassing, especially if you have warned them not to come on your property. That would really bother me and feel like an invasion of my privacy if someone did that to me.
1 person likes this
@jstory07 (67059)
• Roseburg, Oregon
18 Oct 15
@purplealabaster I mainly have problems with young children that should not even be playing on their own or walking around on their own.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Oct 15
@jstory07 Children usually see fences as something to explore. I mean, there must be something really good on the other side of the fence to keep it hidden, and their curiosity takes over. That is certainly more understandable than an adult opening a gate and going through, but I have seen that happen as well.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (10053)
• Malaysia
15 Oct 15
I don't even know how to define privacy anymore. Physical privacy in my own home? Yes, sure. (Or almost sure.) But surveillance is just everywhere these days, even in places we're not aware of.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Oct 15
You actually made a great point about the surveillance that we are not aware of. There have been numerous cases of guys putting small cameras in their rolled-up pant leg or on the toe of their shoe and then filming up girl's skirts and dresses in malls and other public places. That is very creepy and scary.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (10053)
• Malaysia
15 Oct 15
@purplealabaster Oh you just reminded me of a case that happened recently. There was one crazy guy walking around the mall with a backpack he was wearing on his front. Someone noticed he was following the ladies wearing skirts and it turned out he had a hidden camera pinned to the bag or something. So sick.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Oct 15
@cahaya1983 Yes, that is very sick and scary. At least he was caught. I wonder how many of these creepy, perverted guys do this sort of thing and do not get caught.
1 person likes this
@hereandthere (31018)
• Philippines
15 Oct 15
it reminds me of the news i read recently that william and kate's house will be a no-fly zone now
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Oct 15
I had not heard that, but I can totally understand why they would want that. In fact, the local law enforcement cited satellites and drones as two of the factors in why we no longer have an expectation of privacy, even on our own land or in our own homes.
• Philippines
16 Oct 15
@purplealabaster yeah, i've read reports of people shooting drones hovering over their property.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Oct 15
@hereandthere I don't know whether or not it is legal (I am guessing that it probably is not legal), but that would most likely be my first reaction as well. I suspect a well aimed shot from a baseball would accomplish the same effect, though, and would probably squeak by as being legal.
@paigea (22199)
• Canada
16 Jan 16
I only expect privacy if my blinds are down.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 16
That is probably sound thinking! I expect privacy on my property unless I know that I am in an area that is easily visible to the neighbors or people passing by on the road. That does not mean that I necessarily get it, though.
1 person likes this
@paigea (22199)
• Canada
16 Jan 16
@purplealabaster we are only visible from the road and from the pasture. Well someone could be checking the cattle in the pasture any time. It's rare someone ever drives down the road, but still I will settle for private in side blinds down.