Watching gets a price

Sen. Barbara Cegavske finally got a “video voyeur” measure enacted by the Nevada Legislature.

Her Senate Bill 10 received final legislative approval on May 25. It was her third try. In 2001 she proposed such a measure, but the only camera abuses she could point to at the time were vague and tended to be urban myths. “In talking to people in our state and elsewhere, I’ve heard more and more stories about apartment managers or motel operators inserting cameras in rooms and watching people,” she said in July 2000.

Everyone then had heard such stories, including one of a married couple who went to an adult themed motel for the second time and saw video footage of themselves during their first visit, a tale was referenced by urban legends scholar Jan Harold Brunvand in his book The Choking Doberman. But in subsequent years as home video equipment has become cheaper, actual instances of video intrusions have attracted attention, though the government has committed some of them. Cegavske’s bill makes it illegal to record an image “of the private area of another person … under circumstances in which the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

However, a section of the measure keeps it legal for the government to do so, as in the case of Carson City police videotaping public bathrooms to arrest people having sex.