Camera/recording policy for Sitters

TH has a very detailed camera/recording policy for HOs to follow to protect sitters’ privacy. What about the reverse? Is there a guideline or policy to protect HO privacy from potential visual recording (photos or video) by the sitter? I searched but didn’t find anything.

Hello @pdxgal,
TrustedHousesitters doesn’t have an official policy per se, but we do ask that sitters obtain permission from the homeowners before posting any photos of pets or home. As you know, so many ask for pictures and updates while traveling - it would be difficult to require that no photos are taken.

Thanks, good to know. I’m fine with sitters taking photos of the pets to send to me, or to use for their own TH profiles to show pets they’ve taken care of. What I’m not OK with is sitters posting pics of my pet or home on their personal social media accounts or websites. I think I’ll add some language to my Welcome Guide to emphasize that.

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Good plan. As I always say, never too much communication (unless your my mother in law) :rofl:

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It’s definitely something that should be discussed at the interview stage and perhaps written on your welcome guide.

Hi @pdxgal I have a conversation with owners about photos. Sometimes it’s on a video call, other times it’s at the home; either way it’s always before they travel. I explain that when I take photos of the pets indoors, I try to have the pet as the main focus, with minimal view of the home itself. Of course I can also crop the photos to accomplish that.

I do use these photos to send to the homeowner, but also ask to use them for my blog. In my 7+ years of sitting, so far every owner has agreed. I also then add a disclaimer in the blog to show that I have the permission of the owners to post those photos and that all content is copyrighted.

I choose not to use photos of any pets I’ve sat in my THS profile, but I know many sitters do. That’s just a personal preference.

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Hi @pdxgal - Can I ask why you do not approve of sitters sharing pictures of your pets on their own social media? We always do this on our Facebook and blog to show our friends and family what fantastic pets we are getting to meet.
We always ask permission from the home hosts but really out of politeness, none have ever said no. - I have to admit I would be really surprised if they had any objection.

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The thing with social media is you don’t know who will see what you post, what they may do with it, and how it could get associated with other data. Artificial intelligence and mapping tools are able to use images and data in ways that may produce unintended consequences. If a sitter is a diligent as @Snowbird about cropping photos appropriately and not sharing personally identifiable data it’s probably not going to adversely affect me as a HO. But I doubt all sitters will be so careful.

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Wondering , especially as I have some sits in the US, if any sitters have been in homes monitored with internal security cameras?
Surely Hosts should disclose this as a privacy thing, I have nothing to hide, but it’s something I think that should be mentioned.
Where do sitters stand on this?

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Hello @luvlee150yahoo.com and a warm welcome to the forum. This is a topic that has been discussed frequently in the forum and you’ll find plenty to read if you use the “spyglass” search option on the top banner. Search “cameras on sits”.

If you ever encounter something that is contrary to the regulations below it’s important to take that directly to membership services at: support@trustedhousesitters.com

But to answer your question about disclosure, TrustedHousesitters have a strict policy on internal security cameras and are continually monitoring and updating prompts on the site to remind owners about disclosure and regulations. Here’s a link to that page.

In summary …

What we allow

Devices fitted to the exterior of the property or doorbell that monitor security of the outside areas such as the porch, driveway and garden.

What we don’t allow

Any active devices monitoring the interior of property during a sit.

Disclosure

Owners must disclose the presence of any internal and external cameras or recording devices when creating their home listing.

Any internal cameras or recording devices must be disabled for the entire duration of the sit.

Hope that helps.
Vanessa and the forum team

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@Colin, to elaborate on my prior response… photos posted online contain embedded GPS data that can allow others to pinpoint where the photo was taken (unless you take steps to remove the data). Let’s say I have a French Bulldog, a breed that is a target for theft these days in the USA. A thief could see your Facebook photo of you with my Frenchie on the couch, identify where the photo was taken, then come by the house and possibly steal him (since I have a dog door that lets the dog go into the yard).

Here’s a brief explanation and real life example:

Sad that one has to be so vigilant, but c’est la vie.

@pdxgal - Maybe I am just old-fashioned but I think the majority of these horror-story Facebook ‘news’ articles are a load of old tosh and only there as clickbait.

The sad truth about these articles is that they can, and do give large sections of the general public an irrational fear of everyday life

You are right to be concerned about dog theft - it is also a huge problem here in the UK. However, my guess is that a dog thief using this method of embedded GPS data to find their victims is extremely rare.

Most crime of all types is far more basic and opportunistic.

If I was looking to steal a dog I would save myself time messing around on the internet by hanging around the local dog walking park for ten minutes until the right breed came by.

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Totally agree. We also just saw an article about a person pet sitting a rottweiler for her friend. She got torn to pieces when entering the place even though she knew the dog. The reason why it’s in the news is because it’s super rare and horrifying. If anyone wanted to steal a dog: it’s easy enough, a lot of people leave their dog unattended in front of the supermarket and sadly they do tend to get stolen a lot!

True @pdxgal I used to access geo data in photos on social media in my previous law enforcement role. In this digital age it’s not just about pet theft. So many people post social media photos of themselves having a great time on holidays or dining out or out walking their pets. They may as well place a sign on their home saying “I’m away from home now, come and help yourself to my belongings”. It only takes basic IT skills to go through that person’s socials, identify where they live from the geo data on photos taken at home and then break in to their house when they are out posting photos at their fabulous insta worthy location.

I agree @Colin a lot of what you see is click bait but there is no way I will ever get back on the socials knowing what I know now. I got rid of the social media shackles seven years ago and have not missed it for a minute or ever suffered from FOMO.

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Especially in the USA in these politically charged times, alas. People have been arrested based on online postings they believed were private. Others have been targeted for violence using personal information available online. It’s all rather unsettling and has made me even more wary of social media and our digital footprints – including photos.

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I suppose it’s illegal to record people without any agreement. If there are cameras, they should be off.

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Not illegal in every country.

I have photos from my previous catsit but it was the HO who suggested it. He even went as far as saying any HOs I applied to can video call him as my referal. But I still have no luck as yet to land a Christmas sit. :joy:

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Hi @AnnaBaker this thread is about cameras in homes as this is against TrustedHousesitters T&C’s … There are great articles on the website blog about sitting at Christmas, here is one you may find helpful.

If you add your profile link to your forum profile other members will be able to “meet” you via your profile and will give you some friendly feedback.

Adding references to your profile always helps place new sitter members in a position of advantage because pet parents look for reviews and references when making their sitter selections.

Thank you, Angela.