7960534101?profile=originalSurveillance cameras are popping up everywhere.

    The McCormick Mile Beach Club, known to many as the little pink house on the beach side at the inlet, is looking better than ever today. Freshly painted slate blue with white trim, the clubhouse had undergone a majestic makeover unprecedented (not to mention unimagined by the original real estate subdivision developers) in its almost 60-year history.
    Attendant with the makeover, new security and surveillance equipment has been installed to protect the club and property which, in our opinion, raise a host of primarily social, i.e., neighborly concerns — although there are obvious related prickly legal and privacy issues.
    Many other private clubs along A1A no doubt either already have policies regarding security and surveillance equipment on premises, or are struggling to find the right response. Given rapid technological advances, it is likely that any policies clubs develop today will have to be revisited at least annually.
    Bothered by an aerial drone watching you, bikini-clad, as you sip a margarita poolside?
    We are confident that through an open exchange of opinion, weighing the pros and the cons of security vs. surveillance, the members of the McCormick Mile Beach Club will ultimately agree on the right balance.
    We also believe, however, that the greater community, as well as the nation, could benefit from the thoughtful musings of Ocean Ridge’s arguably most exclusive (100-member), most tiny private beach club.
    In a recent letter to the club’s board and members, my wife and I indicated that over the past almost two years we had become increasingly concerned that the security systems in place had the potential for abuse. Questions such as who was permitted to view the security camera records, how often, from where, and based upon what criteria, needed to be answered.
    The best protection for the club is to ensure that adequate safeguards related to the security systems are implemented, we wrote.
    As to this latter concern, I referred to a 2012 article I had written in Forbes discussing some of the many unfolding risks related to use of surveillance systems, When Your Home Security Company Becomes the Greatest Security Risk.
    The article described an experience when passports were stolen from our home in Ocean Ridge by — get this — employees of a leading national company we hired to install a state-of-the-art security system.  
    In our opinion, the extensive use of surveillance and information-gathering devices for supposed security purposes poses far greater potential risks to private clubs and their members than those discussed in my Forbes article.
    We provided a list of questions for club members to consider. If enhanced security were truly the sole objective behind usage of security devices, we indicated our belief the surveillance employed by the club seemed excessive. We recommended a more measured approach.
    Today it seems that other members share our concerns regarding the use of surveillance and information-gathering systems with unknown technological capabilities (including but not limited to surveillance camera systems), and which permit unknown parties to remotely monitor and record members at will.
    We believe the following information needs to be provided to members of any private clubs in connection with any security and surveillance deliberations:
    • Have the members consented to use of any surveillance and information-gathering equipment and waived any applicable privacy rights?
    • What surveillance and information-gathering systems have been installed, and what are the capabilities of the equipment?
    • Are members’ conversations, as well as images, being monitored or recorded? Are members’ use of cellphones and Internet being monitored or recorded?
    • Where are the records and information maintained? How long is it stored?
    • How are the records accessed, by whom, when and for what purpose? What procedures are in place to ensure there is no unauthorized access?
    • Are the information and records available to third parties, including civil litigants and law enforcement? Have the information and records ever been provided to either civil litigants or law enforcement?
    • Who is responsible for — and who has responded to — any concerns identified through the use of surveillance and information-gathering systems?
    In closing, we doubt that members of many private clubs sincerely wish to go well beyond safeguarding actual physical structures to watching, listening, recording and monitoring member and guest activity.
We welcome hearing from other private club members their thoughts and experiences.

Ted and Tamara Siedle
Ocean Ridge

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