Use of Video Monitoring System

Responsible Office: Vice President for the Division of Operations

Policy Type: Security and Safety

Policy Number: 854

Last Date Revised: 3/03/17

Policy Statement

Binghamton University allows the use of approved video monitoring systems (VMS) through a transparent process, subject to rules governing equipment installation and employment, and use of the resulting recorded material.

Purpose

Binghamton University aims to provide a secure environment for members of its community and to protect personal safety and property, assisted by video monitoring systems (VMS) technology. These technologies should be used to assist Binghamton University in its efforts to provide for public safety, security, public convenience, and operational effectiveness.

Definitions

Camera

A device that captures images shot per time period (stop action, time lapse), or multiple images (motion, video) and is connected to a video monitoring system

Facilities

Buildings and grounds that are owned or controlled - via leases or other contractual arrangements - by Binghamton University, and whose operations are controlled by Binghamton University. This definition includes but is not limited to, offices, labs, building exteriors, hallways, parking lots and garages, outdoor areas, and common areas.

Video Monitoring System

A technology that has the capability to view or record university owned or controlled spaces, with the exception of the following (when not used for monitoring):

  • Personal web cameras, whether connected to a computer or other device (e.g. smartphone)
  • Video streaming, webcasting, video conferencing, and/or video distribution in support of official university business or instruction

Video Monitoring System Review Committee (VMSRC)

A group convened on an as-needed basis to review VMS installations for appropriateness and to verify consistent application of controls. The VMSRC will balance the concerns of VMS use and resultant recorded material to improve security on campus with the community members’ interests in privacy, assembly and free speech. The group is comprised, but not limited to representatives from Risk Management, the University Police Department, Information Technology Services, Human Resources, and Student Affairs and will be chaired by the Chief of Police.

Video Monitoring Operator

An individual authorized and assigned responsibility by the VMSRC for the installation, management, operation, and/or viewing or controlling of VMS.

Principles

Binghamton University aims to provide its community with a secure environment, which is enhanced by using VMS to monitor its facilities. Systems will be deployed and professionally managed in accordance with applicable laws and the values of Binghamton University. The University will take steps to avoid unnecessary intrusions upon academic freedom or individual civil liberties including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and will follow laws and policies that prohibit discrimination, harassment, and honor an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy in accordance with accepted social norms. In addition:

  • VMS shall only be installed and operated following review and approval by the VMSRC.
  • VMS shall be installed, administered, and managed centrally.

Note: Information obtained through video monitoring authorized under this policy will be used primarily for security and law enforcement purposes. If, in the course of a legitimate, safety- or regulation-related use of VMS, information is collected and related to safety and security that warrants disciplinary action, such action may be taken.

Scope

This policy applies to all units of the university using or managing VMS.

Exceptions to the policy include VMS uses that are governed by federal and state law and regulations. Examples include but are not limited to HIPAA, Human Subjects, etc.

The Chief of University Police may authorize temporary VMS installations in the following situations:

  • When determined appropriate for an impending visit by a dignitary
  • For a criminal investigation or request by Internal Audit, Risk Management, University Counsel or Human Resources
  • For an emergency situation, that is when determined by University Police that there is an imminent threat to security/safety and/or University property or there is a campus emergency.

This policy does not apply to the use of video equipment for the recording of public performances or events, interviews, personal use, news or other use for broadcast or educational purposes. Examples of such excluded activities would include videotaping of athletic events for post-game review, videotaping of concerts, plays, and lectures, live stream activity or videotaped interviews of persons.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) and banking establishments, and other auxiliary service operations, which utilize cameras, may be exempted from this policy.

Prohibited Uses

VMS shall not be installed in or used to monitor or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in accordance with accepted social norms. Areas where there are reasonable expectations of privacy include but are not limited to restrooms, locker rooms, individual residential rooms, changing or dressing rooms, and health treatment rooms.

VMS shall not be used to record audio unless prior approval is obtained from the University Counsel and the VMSRC. This does not apply to University Police interview rooms which are authorized to record audio.

VMS shall not be used to monitor or record sensitive institutional or personal information which may be found, for example, on an individual's workspaces, on computer or other electronic displays. Information obtained through VMS shall not be accessed, used, or disclosed except as outlined in this policy.

Procedures

Installation requests: Requests to install VMS are directed to Information Technology Services (ITS). The documented request should include the following information:

  • a description of the safety or security issues warranting the installation of VMS,
  • the number and proposed location of camera(s) to be installed,
  • and whether the location of cameras involve the recording of activity by students, faculty, staff or the general public and to what extent,
  • Account number to be charged for initial installation and annual maintenance fee

Approval: VMS shall be installed and operated only following prior review and approval by the VMSRC. The ITS will shepherd requests for installation to the VMSRC. The VMSRC will consider the request and render its decision as to approval of the installation to the requestor. The recommendation might propose an installation that is less or more extensive than described in the original request. The requestor may ask ITS staff to interpret the VMSRC recommendation.

Removal requests: Requests for removal of VMS are directed to Information Technology Services (ITS). The ITS will shepherd requests for removal to the VMSRC.

In cases where the VMSRC deliberations result in a non-decision the Vice President of Operations (VPO) will make the decision regarding the appropriateness of an installation weighing the concerns of the unit making the requests, the safety and security of the entire community, instructional considerations and the privacy interests of those whose activity may be recorded.

Decisions of the VMSRC, or VPO as applicable, may be appealed to Office of University Counsel, which is the final arbiter of video monitoring system use.

Signs may accompany video and electronic monitoring systems. The VPO or designee shall determine when signs are appropriate. Any signage posted shall include a statement indicating that the surveillance is not actively monitored, such as “This area is subject to surveillance for security purposes and may or may not be monitored.”

Preservation, Review and Release of VMS Recordings

Preservation: For monitoring that is recorded, recordings will be stored in a secure location and configured to prevent unauthorized access, modification, duplication, or destruction. The monitoring system is capable of storing images up to 21 days, depending on the amount of recording taking place. The system will automatically record over the oldest image when the hard drive is full. Monitored information may be kept longer than 21 days if it is considered as evidence in an investigation. or if otherwise required by applicable law.

Review: The VMSRC will accept, review and approve requests for operator access to video and electronic monitoring systems. VMS operators must be trained and supervised in the responsible use of monitoring technology, including the technical, legal, and ethical parameters of such use.

Monitored information may be accessed or otherwise used by operators only as authorized and in accordance with this policy.

Monitored information shall only be released to non-operators under specific circumstances, and upon review and approval of the Chief of University Police who is the data owner for VMS recorded information. When an incident is reported, the personnel responsible for the area in question may request the State University Police to review the images from the camera. As circumstances require, the Chief of Police may authorize others to view images. Any requests for live data viewing capabilities in a particular building / department would need to be approved by the VMSRC. All requests, whether to the Chief of Police or VMSRC, shall be responded to in a timely manner so as not to significantly compromise the otherwise appropriate use of VMS to respond to an incident.

Charges

VMS requests will generally incur an installation and annual maintenance charge for each device installed. Rates are available from Information Technology Services. Decommissioning and removal may incur restoration charges through a service request and/or work order. Charges will be applied to the requesting department.

Over time, all VMS installations at Binghamton University will be consolidated and provided via the central university infrastructure. A roadmap and timeline or transition will be developed and available on the ITS website. Rates will be applied to all VMS installations.

Sanctions

Violations of this policy will be dealt with in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures. Failure to comply with university policies may result in sanctions relating to the individual's employment (up to and including termination of employment in accordance with applicable University policy); the individual's rights and privileges as a student including but not limited to student status in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Code of Student Conduct; civil or criminal liability; or any combination of these, as applicable.

Abuse

Any perceived misuse of the video monitoring system must be reported to the Chief of Police, University Counsel, Risk Management and/or the Fraud Hotline (777-5049) for review and resolution. Misuse of the video monitoring system may result in criminal, civil and administrative actions.

Responsibilities

University Police Department

Consults on and authorizes VMS installations when: it is required for a visiting dignitary; the University Police Department or University Audit is conducting a criminal investigation; or in an emergency situation.

Data stewards and trustees of all physical security card access system transactions, video monitoring system footage, and badge access

Reviews and approves requests for the release of recorded data; may consult with camera owner if appropriate

Investigates events as appropriate using video recordings

Documents the release of VMS recordings

Note: Where such requests take the form of subpoenas or other legal documents compelling production, the responsibility for responding to requests rests with University Counsel.

Office of Risk Management

Interprets the Use of Video Monitoring System policy if requested

Information Technology Services

Accepts installation requests and submits to VMSRC for review

Posts signage stating that the area is subject to monitoring for security purposes and may or may not be monitored in areas determined by the VMSRC

Ensures storage of recorded material in a secure location, accessible only to designated individuals, and retain materials for no less than 21 days.

Convenes meetings of the VMSRC

Bills for VMS services at rates approved by the University chargeback committee, where applicable

Maintains and enhances VMS systems, including associated services and tools, as appropriate and conducts periodic audits of monitoring processes

Provisions and de-provisions VMS operator access in support of the VMS system and/or at the direction of the VMSRC. Conducts periodic audits of operator accounts.

University Counsel

Acts as final authority on questions of law related to video monitoring tools.

Any court ordered, public records, or public information act requests for recorded video will be routed through the University Counsel, unless the recording is part of a criminal filing, which is subject to the rules of discovery. University Counsel will coordinate any such requests with the University Police Chief.

Accepts and reviews appeals from VMSRC deliberations

Video Monitoring Systems Review Committee

Meet as needed, as convened by ITS, to review requested installations and removals

Approve and adjust installation requests as needed, including number and location

Determine locations where signage is needed

Vice President of Operations makes determinations in situations where a VMSRC deliberation results in a non-decision

Last Updated: 3/3/17