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Is it possible mail a parcel with a running camera inside? Answered

I thought  it might be cool to ship my old smart phone wile its recording low res motion detect images. The phone will be in a tough very small 19 x 19 x 9 cm cardboard box with a modified minty boost powering it. All data connections on the phone will be turned off.

I just have one question, is it legal?


I would love a follow up. Did you ever ship it? Any complications?

After scouring over USPS policy, there isn't a single mention of shipping running recording devices (audio or video). Seems that were you to run into problems, it wouldn't be with USPS policy but general privacy law.

Unless of course it became an issue of "homeland security"...

I'm not a lawyer. I'm just an Internet busybody. Sort of depends where you are, but in most places there is the 'right to privacy' which means if people are in a private place--like an office that process mail--they have the right to not be recorded without their permission or knowledge. More info about US law: http://www.rbs2.com/privacy.htm It is a neat idea, but it's probably a bad idea, at least in the US. Call up your local postmaster just to be sure. (Sorry for the bad formatting. Rich Editor seems to be not working tonight.

Well, I was planning on starting its journey from my fathers business here in south Florida via UPS to a relative in Utah that I will be visiting in a few weeks. In this way the package will only move through a truck, plane, and the UPS World port, no local stores.

But it will pass through the UPS sorting facilities, and those are private property. Even if you're not going to share the video/photos or post them publicly, it's still a violation of privacy because -you- would see them. (ie: someone who didn't have permission to record the images in the private area.) You could always put big orange stickers on the box that says "There is a camera recording your actions inside this box." And then leave it up to the package handlers to deal with it.

I can't vouch for whether it would be legal to run the experiment. There will be legal restrictions on what you can do with the images, since some of this will not be "in a public place" and you won't have model releases signed by anyone. And if the camera gets bashed, stickered over, or otherwise obscured that's the risk you take -- if you wanted it protected you wouldn't have exposed it.

I'm not planning to post this on YouTube and I don't really care if the smart phone breaks or gets lost, I've had it for many years now and it did its job. (There is no data plan on it either.)