Security Cameras

Purpose and Principles

The purpose of this policy is to regulate the use of security cameras on campus.

The principles of this policy:

  1. Enhance the health and safety of the university population and protect university property.
  2. Respect the privacy of members of the campus community and guests.
  3. Support the mission of the Division of Public Safety.
  4. Provide transparency in the use of video camera technology in achieving a safe and secure campus environment.

Security cameras will be used in a professional and ethical manner in accordance with university policy and local, state and federal laws and regulations.


As used within this policy, the following terms are defined as follows.

Security camera
a camera used for monitoring or recording public areas for the purposes of enhancing public safety, monitoring restricted areas or equipment, to discourage theft and other criminal activities, and for preventing, investigating, and resolving incidents. The most common security cameras rely on closed circuit television.
Security camera monitoring
the real-time review or watching of security camera feeds.
Security camera recording
a digital or analog recording of the feed from a security camera.
Security camera systems
any electronic service, software, or hardware directly supporting or deploying a security camera.

All references to the chief of police refer to the head of the Division of Public Safety or his or her designate.

Responsibilities and Authority

Responsibility for oversight of security cameras and associated policies, standards, and procedures, is delegated by the Chancellor to the Chief of Police. This responsibility includes:

  1. creation, maintenance, and review of a campus strategy for the procurement, deployment, and use of security cameras, including this and related policies
  2. designation of the standard campus security camera system or service
  3. authorizing the placement of all security cameras
  4. authorizing the purchase of any new security camera systems
  5. reviewing existing security camera systems and installations and describing required changes to bring them into compliance with this policy
  6. creating and approving campus standards for security cameras and their use
  7. creating and approving the procedures for the use of security cameras

Control Elements

  1. Security Camera Placement
    1. University Police may establish temporary or permanent security cameras in public areas of the campus.
    2. Audio recordings are prohibited.
    3. Security cameras may not be used in private areas of the campus pursuant to law including the Illinois Criminal Code or consent.
    4. Private areas include residence hall rooms, bathrooms, shower areas, locker and changing rooms, areas where a reasonable person might change clothes, and private offices. Additionally rooms for medical, physical, or mental therapy or treatment are private. Where Security Cameras are permitted in private areas, they will to the maximum extent possible be used narrowly to protect money, real or personal property, documents, supplies, equipment, or pharmaceuticals from theft, destruction, or tampering.
    5. To the maximum extent possible security cameras shall not be used to get close-up video through the windows of any private residential space or office. If needed, electronic shielding will be placed in the security camera so that the security camera cannot be used to look into or through windows.
    6. To the maximum extent possible, security cameras shall not be directed at the windows of any private building not on University property.
  2. Security Camera Monitoring and Review
    1. Review of Security Camera Recordings
      1. The University Police may monitor and review security camera feeds and recordings as needed to support investigations and to enhance public safety.
      2. With the approval of the Chief of Police, units may assign staff to review security camera recordings for purposes of public safety.
    2. Monitoring of Security Camera Feeds
      1. With the approval of the Chief of Police, units may assign staff to monitor security camera feeds for purposes of public safety.
      2. Monitoring individuals based on characteristics of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected classification is prohibited.
  3. Notification RequirementsAll locations with security cameras will have signs displayed that provide reasonable notification of the presence of security cameras. At a minimum this must include primary building entrances. All proposals for the deployment of security cameras will include proposed sites for the placement of notifying signs. The placement of the signs and the text on the signs will be subject to the review and approval of the Chief of Police.
  4. Use of RecordingsSecurity camera recordings, with the approval of the chief of police, are to be used for the purposes described in the definition of a security camera. This use extends to their release by the Division of Public Safety to external law enforcement agencies. Records of the access to, and release of, Security Camera recordings must be sufficient so as to validate compliance with this policy.Security camera recordings may not be used in the course of personnel investigations such as those related to (but not limited to) work place attendance or work quality. The use of security camera recordings for any purpose not detailed within this policy is subject to item 6 of the campus policy on the Appropriate Use of Computers and Network Systems.Recordings from cameras whose primary function is not security (such as classroom lecture capture) may, with the authorization of the Chief of Police, be used for the purposes described in the definition of security camera. In these circumstances the Chief of Police will inform the unit head when requesting or acquiring the recording.
  5. Retention of Security Camera RecordingsSecurity camera recordings will be retained for a period of no less than 30 and no longer than 120 days. This retention period may be extended at the request of university legal counsel or the chief of police or as required by law.


The Chief of Police will ensure that records related to the use of security cameras and recordings from security cameras are sufficient to validate compliance with this policy. Units that maintain or support security camera technology must also maintain records and configure systems to ensure compliance with this policy. Security camera systems procured by units will need to ensure compatibility with the system identified as the campus standard by the chief of police.

The campus security office in the Office of the Chief Information Officer will periodically review the information technology security on security camera systems and provide the chief of police with a summary of its findings and recommendations. A failure to meet the requirements of this policy may result in loss of the privilege to support, maintain, or deploy security cameras at the discretion of the chief of police.


As noted above, uses beyond those described in this security camera policy shall be governed by applicable University policies and laws. In particular, see the Policy on Appropriate Use of Computers and Network Systems at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and its Section 6 on Protection of Information in Electronic Media, which provides a separate process governing use such as for uses required by law or by authorized administrative approval as detailed therein.