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alarm co refuses to install audio in residence / comments on self-monitoring November 23, 2017

KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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alarm co refuses to install audio in residence / comments on self-monitoring
November 23, 2017
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alarm co refuses to install audio in residence
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Ken
    I recently had a client ask me to add microphones to their residential security camera system of which I respectfully declined.   I did so having read various daily newsletters I received from you and did not want to engage in something I understand to be prohibited. 
    Upon my declining to do so, my client asked me why. I provided a simple answer saying that I am not permitted to do so. My client went on further to ask how then companies like Nest is able to offer these services through their cameras along with various video doorbell systems such as Ring, Skybell, and Doorbird to name a few. I simply replied that I am not an attorney but understand that there are restrictions within the law that prohibit this. 
    This conversation and request has happened several times since with other clients and it leaves me curious as to how these various systems are able to listen in and in many cases record audio when it is not permitted in most circumstances.? Is there a better way to explain this restriction to a client?
    I hope that you are able to provide some insight into the above. 
Thank you
Respectfully,
Darren 
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Response
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    You have misinterpreted prior article on this topic.  You can install audio in a residence [or commercial premises].  You are only installing the devices.  It's illegal to mechanically record or listen in to audio [keep in mind the one or all party state rules], but installation of devices is not prohibited, and in any situation I can think of the device could be used lawfully.  Sure there is a possibility of misuse, but you won't be the one running afoul of the law, the end user will be the violator.   Installing video. audio and all other security, fire and alarm systems is covered by the Residential All in One.  The contract makes it clear that you are installing the equipment but it's the responsibility of the end user, your subscriber, to use the equipment lawfully.  The contract does not explain the law, and neither should you.  I understand that a jurisdiction has just enacted a law that requires the contractor [that would be the alarm company] to ensure that it's employees are able to explain the contract to consumers.  I will address that issue in another article shortly but suffice it to say, despite any law, the alarm industry is not going to turn it's sales people in lawyers.  For one thing, I don't want the competition.  For another thing, the contract [mine anyway] speaks for itself.  All you can do by trying to explain it is invite a "fraud in the inducement" defense when you look to enforce the contract. 
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comments on self-monitoring from November 21, 2017 article
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Ken
    I do not think professional monitoring will go away.   All that self-monitoring does is let you check your voicemail and then watch a video of your house burning down because the homeowner was in a meeting when the original text came in.
Steve
New Haven, CT
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Ken,
  When it comes to alarm monitoring I was taught that it had to be performed by a qualified, licensed facility with proper training and insurance requirements.   If a homeowner is on premise they have the right to call the police.  If they are not on premise and dispatch police they are acting as an unlicensed, uninsured central station.  If the responding authority causes an accident, couldn't the homeowner be held liable?
Dale Burger
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Ken
    I am always amazed at the number of subscribers that be turn themselves into a police officer and speed home with their CCW to get the intruder.  All I can say is good luck. At least it is nice to dream.
John Romero
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Response
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    I think all alarm professionals would agree that there is really no substitute for professional monitoring services.  But that doesn't mean that self-monitoring, augmenting professional monitoring, doesn't have a place in a well-designed security system.  Why shouldn't the end user be notified?  Frankly, the concept of a Call List is quickly becoming obsolete.  A text message to the end user's cell phone is going to be received as fast or faster than a phone call, and it will take less time to send and read.  A follow-up phone call can be attempted as confirmation.  There are plenty of situations where it's the end user who needs to respond rather than First Responders.  Alarms cover a lot more than intrusion and fire.  I have water detectors in the house.  Who other than me is the central station going to call?  I'd just as soon get a text message.  In fact, I'd like it to come from the service department so I can "call back" and schedule a service call since it's most likely a false alarm, and even if it's not the system may have to be re-set.  
Camera confirmation is another good reason for self-monitoring.  The end user is more familiar with the premises and may see something out of sorts a lot faster than a cs operator.
    So I am not advocating a self-monitored system over a professionally monitored system.  I am suggesting to all you security professionals that you should be integrating self-monitoring and DIY products with your professionally installed and monitored systems and services.  RMR from self-monitoring is just as good as RMR from professional monitoring.  Learn the products and service and how to sell them.
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
516 747 6700
www.KirschenbaumEsq.com