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liability for sharing video / comment on standards for the installation of alarm systems March 16, 2017

KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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liability for sharing video / comment on standards for the installation of alarm systems March 16, 2017
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Next webinar March 28, 2017 - see schedule below
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liability for sharing video
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Ken,
    We have a landlord with 35 apartment building where we provide the CCTV system and we monitor the video from these locations in our Central Station. From time to time we received requests from the Landlord to download some event that happened at one of the buildings for his insurance company to use in slip and fall litigation.
    But in the last two to three months we have been asked several times to view the video from within the buildings to show that packages left by the US Postal Service or another carrier were taken by unauthorized persons. We just found out that the landlord is not looking at these video clips but he is just sending them to the tenants that are affected for their review. In some cases he is asking us to send the video directly to the tenant.
    My concern is, if the video shows a package being stolen by another tenant and the person I send the video to confronts that person and something happens, are we liable if someone get hurt. I would like your direction on how we should proceed in the future to these requests by the landlord. Should we send the landlord some disclaimer or instructions to keep us out of litigation.
Sincerely,
 Wayne
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Response
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    The cameras are in appropriate places and the request for the data is being made by your subscriber.  The data shows what appears to be illegal or improper conduct.  A reasonable expectation would be that one tenant would call the police once in possession of incriminating video data showing a theft, not confront the person and take matters into their own hands.  We could change the scenario by adding that the tenant expressed to you that he, or she, intended to shoot the person captured on the video.  Then I would not suggest turning over the data.  But absent something that shocking I think you can and should turn it over if requested to by your subscriber or the police, but not third parties unless they get a lawful order or legal subpoena. 
    The "disclaimer" you're looking to get in exchange for turning over the data should be unnecessary if you are using the Commercial All in One.  If a residential tenant is your subscriber then you would be using the Residential All in One.  The Standard Form All in One will provide all the contractual protection you can reasonably get by contract.  Asking for another "disclaimer" would probably just cause difficulty between you and the subscriber.  Also there is probably no mechanism for you to decline to turn it over to the subscriber or third party tenant and instead deliver it to the local police state; I'd be surprised if they took it without you signing a complaint form which would put you in the middle of the issue.
    The Standard All in One makes it clear that the central station owns the data.  The subscriber's agreement in your scenario will have contracted for cameras, video monitoring, data storage and retrieval.  The retrieval in this case appears not to be by subscriber access to the data electronically on demand, but only through requesting it through you.  You might want to consider asking your central station to offer subscriber access through a portal to retrieve the data without your intervention.  That would also take you out of the process.  Keep in mind that no agreement can really prevent you from being sued or being subpoenaed as a witness in a lawsuit.  The agreement can and is designed so that you will likely prevail and get reimbursed for your expenses.  The first thing you need to be doing is use the Standard Form Agreements.
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comment on standards for the installation of alarm systems
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Ken,
    I do agree with Richard Kleinman regarding standards for the installation of alarm systems in the February 21, 2017 article. However, I’m sure he realizes that this has been a matter ignored by all of the "upper echelon" of the alarm trade for decades. This brings up my ever eternal rant regarding the "so called" premier organization of our trade ....... the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association going by the alias of ESA to conceal its horrendous past record of getting nothing done. If we had an organization who was truly interested in this industry rather than patting each other on the back, they would have instituted, supported, sponsored, promoted standards decades ago. Does anyone remember how quickly they negatively responded to the standards that the NFPA created a few years ago? They won’t do it themselves but they don’t want anyone else to do it either. What’s with that? What exactly is it that this self-aggrandizing organization does do except apply pressure in places that benefit only the largest alarm companies who are part of the cadre and does absolutely nothing for the majority entity in this trade, the small independent local and regional alarm companies.
    Standards and different levels of security and recognition of those levels by insurance discounts is the ideal utopia. But, it’s never going to happen with the likes of a national trade organization that will not take the lead and only takes the payment of dues from the gradually diminishing membership of alarm associations in the country to finance their dinners where they award each other trophies for unimaginably remote and self-promoting accomplishments.
    If the self-proclaimed "lead" organization in this trade will not promote standards to the trade and to insurance companies, it certainly is not going to be adopted spontaneously by alarm companies. And, in all of this, who ..... exactly is it that is going to "inspect" or "confirm, that, in fact, a burglar alarm system installation meets a particular "standard"?
    So in a nutshell, "it ain’t ever gonna happen". Not until we have a national organization that is not steeped in self-approval and in advocating and praising companies like Vivint who entered this trade in what can kindly be characterized as less than traditional way and then changed their name to hide their bad reputation.
    So, this thread is not simply about issuing a certificate. It’s about how do we get to the point that a "certificate" actually has a meaning and is not simply a token given to the insurance company who is going give a token discount and will pay off a loss regardless if the alarm system consists of a motion detector and a door contact,  was even armed or even operable, or not. We certainly don’t have any advocacy by any of the companies or organizations that could affect this process. 
Gene
Reliable Alarm
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TitleAll You Need To Know About Alarm dealer program contracts - getting in and getting out
When: March 28,  2017 noon EST
Where: Your computer for power point, live video and call in on computer or phone
What will be covered: General discussion about honeypots/trappings of dealer program contracts and how difficult they are to get out of. 
Who should attend: Alarm company owners.
Presented by: James Babbitt, Esq. General Counsel, RMR Capital Group jbabbitt@rmr-capital.com; 952 467 8610
Register herehttps://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7359323076355955715
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TitleAll You Need To Know About Getting Top Dollar for your  Alarm Business -sale or financing
When: April 11, 2017 noon EST
Where: Your computer for power point, live video and call in on computer or phone
What will be covered: General discussion about how to maximize the value of your alarm business and position yourself for sale or financing
Who should attend: Alarm company owners.
Presented by: Rory Russell, Acquisition Funding Services, www.afssmartfunding.com 888 551 0476
Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3874048237745402369
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TitleAll You Need to know about Internet security and why is it relevant for the alarm industry 
When: April 25,  2017 noon EST
Where: Your computer for power point, live video and call in on computer or phone
What will be covered: Discussion of securing Internet devices.  Attacks by Mirai and other botnets and disruption to Internet services around the world made possible because of the millions of poorly secured cameras, DVRs and other installed network devices. 
Who should attend: Alarm company owners, general and technical managers
Presented by: Securifi, a leading router and smart home hub company, soon to be offering its own comprehensive Total Security Solution (Monitored Security + IoT Security + Parental Controls + Malware Blocking) to the alarm industry.  Rohit Somani     rohit.somani@securifi.com    855 969 7328  
Register here:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6899604070803705091
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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Garden City, NY 11530
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